Sunday, May 29, 2011

War, Basil and Dragons

The garden is doing well.

After 3 days in a row of almost 90 degree weather in April, I disregarded the conventional wisdom of waiting until Mother's Day to set out tender plants. I just couldn't help myself. I came home with six-packs of tomatoes, basil, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and romaine lettuce. Beans, sugar snap peas and radishes went in by seed. [Note to self: if the radishes don't improve next year, that's three strikes. No more.]

Today, Memorial Day weekend, found me looking at my weather stick which is moving towards predicting rain (just beginning to point down), but having to water the garden and new transplants all the same, as the clouds just scudded by, with no rain. While watering, I regret to report that I attacked a dragon fly with the hose. He tried to land on my shoulder without warning and without filing a flight plan. Sorry about that.

In other garden news, it appears Luther decapitated several snap dragons. He was lucky he had returned indoors by the time I discovered his fell deed. . . .

I never knew snap dragons returned every year! I planted these the first year we moved in.

This stand is particularly vibrant.

I do hope Luther will not make a habit of snapping their heads off.

Continuing in a war-like dragon theme, something has been attacking the basil. Every morning for 4 or 5 days now, I discover a basil plant sheered off and lying on the ground, with bite marks on the leaves! What dastardly creature is doing this? The king has named him Basil Wrath-bone. I went to work.

Research reveals that the prime suspect is a cutworm. We had finished a roll of paper towels, so I used the cardboard tube as a collar for the smaller plants, meaning to adapt something else for the larger plants. Tin foil was suggested.

This morning, Mr. Wrathbone had struck again. Here, a close up. See the sheered off stems? I cut the bottoms out of some plastic cups and ran them over the rest of the seedlings.
In the process, I transplanted some seedlings into the war zone, and believe I have now found the culprit! Here he is is, a black cutworm.
They move surprisingly fast. After his photo op, he was bisected by the trowel.

I know, it's a cruel world.

Meanwhile, almost all of the smaller basils now have little anti-Basil Wrathworm collars.
I've left a few teensy basils out there as bait. If they go, I'll dig under the surface to find and dispatch the miscreant. Apparently, they won't attack the larger plants, so those are safe.

Moving on. I am amazed at the size of the cabbage. They are almost 3 feet across. I'm on the lookout for fireflies (no sign yet); we have green tomatoes (duly cayenne peppered, given last year's experience!); and the sugar snap peas are twice the height of last year's, but no blossoms until just this week. They're all also cayenned to within an inch of their lives. I am not growing food for the deer.

I'm not growing watermelon either, but dinner tonight is wine and watermelon. A good choice for a hot summer night.

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