One would hope that a long, cold, snowy winter would, at least, put a damper on the bug population. The garden pests are back in force, and the root maggots and flea beetles are enjoying my broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi. The Colorado potato bug has found my once beautiful potato crop. The cabbageworm is back and already an inch long.
I try to hand pick for the most part. Soon however, they get ahead of me! For several years I’ve used kaolin clay, mixed with water and spray up and down the rows with a can. It doesn’t actually kill the pests but coats the plant with a fine white sheen that supposedly makes it more difficult to locate. I’ve had moderate success with the product.
As I mentioned last week, diatomaceous earth is another fairly effective method of dispatching hard-shelled insects.
The, by far, worst part of the summer — next to heat, humidity, traffic, and poison ivy — is the onslaught of fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. I am already finding several ticks on myself daily. For some unknown reason I have yet to contact the dreaded Lyme disease. Is there any wood handy for me to knock?
I have friends who have fought long hard battles with the virus. Just recently Clarissa Allen mentioned she has fought it for 50 years. Wow! That information gives a person pause.
I have some beautiful Black seeded Simpson lettuce. Because the nights are still cool, it has yet to become brittle, as lettuce tends to do as the summer heats up. By July and August I usually switch to cucumbers and tomatoes for salad making and wait until cool fall greens are available.
Sadly, I’ve been so busy I fell behind in my harvesting of asparagus. Now it has gone to fern. Oh well, too bad my bed is so old and well established, I could probably pick for another month.
Honestly, a person needs a couple of clones to keep up with the tasks of life.
I’ve noticed some beautiful locusts in full bloom in my travels, all the more curious is the large number of dead ones at the western edge of the town field below the Tashmoo Overlook. The locust is a member of the pea family — hence a legume and nitrogen fixer. It is very shallow rooted. Several on my property came right out of the ground during Hurricane Bob. I’ve saved long pieces for fence posts. It’s a very hard wood and lasts forever.
It is also a favored wood for the store. It can burn well, even green. Handy, when I’ve been out of seasoned cordwood. This rarely happens to me thanks to my son Rueben. He has kept my stoves stoked for years.
The peonies are in full and glorious bloom. Once, during the heights of peony bloom, Trudy Taylor paid a visit. At the sight of a particularly lonely tree peony, she clutched her chest and said, “When the peonies go by the honeymoon’s over.”
Although sparse, it was nice to get a tiny bit of rain. I got a much-needed break from hauling hoses around — the bane of my existence. Who needs weight-lifting after a day of untangling hoses? People do yourselves a huge favor, purchase only 100 per cent rubber hoses. No matter how expensive the vinyl ones, they simply are not up to the task. Home Depot has all rubber American-made 50-foot ones for under $30. They last for years. Can be left out all winter, and survive the driveway. I’ve missed my calling in advertising.
I loved some of the D-Day coverage last week. One 93-year-old made the same parachute jump he made into France 70 years ago. Imagine! When asked if he was scared, he replied, “At least this time they weren’t shooting at me.” Since the death of my father, I have become acutely aware of the dwindling population of World War II veterans. Speaking of veterans, what is the problem with President Obama securing the release of P.O.W. Bowe Bergdahl? Regardless of all the partisan throwback, I know once thing for sure. If he was my son, I would want his commander-in-chief to have his back and bring him home.