Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Nemesis

Good morning, World.

I took the day off from work today to cram for a really difficult licensing exam I'm taking tomorrow. Naturally, I'm blogging instead of hitting the books. Hey - I need my morning coffee to take effect before I can be expected to think clearly anyway. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

While it was on my mind, I wanted to take note of last year's garden invaders, along with my strategy for overcoming them this year. I had three nemesises nemesi nemeses (google says it's right so it must be true) that quickly proved to be the bane of my existence. In no particular order, here they are:

Offender #1: Mr. Peter Cottontail

Sure, he LOOKS like an innocent woodland creature. But Peter and Petunia (whom I did not get a picture of) really took a liking to my lettuce seedlings. I was SO looking forward to that mesclun mix. Darn you furry villains! This year the bed will be surrounded by a chicken wire fence. I'm not quite sure what I'll do about keeping them out of the containers yet - hopefully the height will be enough of a deterrent? If not, I may have to invest in Smith & Wesson..

Offender #2: The Green Monster

No - not that Green Monster (although my husband would disagree..) THIS Green Monster:

This disgusting ectozoon and his band of beastly brothers made the deadly decision of munching on my maters. Each one was sentenced to Death By Spade, a gruesome squashing that turned both my mulch and stomach green. This year I'll try some of that fabled BT spray early on and hope for the best.

Offender #3: The Mexican Bean Beetle

Much to my disappointment, these are not cute little bugs that show up with sombreros and maracas. These rapscallions obliterated my pole beans in one fell swoop. My beans were alive and healthy one day, the next skeletons of their former selves. This is a stock photo. You see, they came, they saw, and they conquered before I could capture their image myself. I've heard that neem oil will keep them away, but I'm trying to keep things as safe for my family as possible. Does anyone know if neem oil is dangerous for human consumption?

Offender #4 would have to be our terrential rains last year. For a state that had suffered from a 3 year drought, we certainly made up for lost time. Everything was soggy. Nothing dried out. Unfortunately, I can't combat the weather, so I'll just take it in stride. And with any luck, Mother Nature will be kind this year, and the garden won't be plagued with blight or squash beetles. Positive thinking is a powerful thing, right? Right...?

I'm off to hit the books for real this time. Promise.

Until tomorrow,


Annie's Granny said...

I haven't had to resort to using insecticides, luckily, but I do have to protect my AZ salad garden from rabbits. A raised bed, 2"x2"x2' posts screwed into each corner, then a plastic mesh fencing (cheap, from Wal-Mart) wrapped all around and another piece over the top. Three screws in each upright, just the heads sticking out a bit, one screw in the top of each upright. The plastic fencing stretches around and hooks over the screw heads, making for easy removal to tend to the garden. As the weather gets hot, remove the fencing from the top and lay a piece of lattice over it for perfect partial shade. I grew mesclun right through 100+ weather that way.

Erin said...

Sombreros and maracas, hahaha! Too bad they can't bring taquitos and guac instead of death and destruction, lol. I have a post I did with the disgusting hornworm with a video at the link They are gross! Congrats on your blog by the way, welcome to the secret society of crazy gardeners! Yeah, I mean you "Crazy Tomato Lady Granny"!!!

Caffeinated Mom said...

Granny - Thank you so much for that suggestion on keeping those boogers out of my garden. I've got to run to the local hardware store on Saturday, so I'll check out their stock of plastic fencing while I'm there,

Erin - Thanks for stopping by! I just read the post you linked and oh my goodness was that ever my reaction!! Unfortunately once I found one of those suckers, I found a dozen more. Funny how the birds would eat my peas, but not my hornworms.. I did eventually come across one with parasitic wasps, but I totally freaked out and smashed the sucker before I knew what it was. Is it cruel of me to secretly wish that it would have lived to endure a much more painful demise?

Annie's Granny said...

The plastic fencing comes in a roll. It's very pliable (I use it for bird netting and pea trellis, too) and the squares are probably 1-inch, maybe less. See a close up at