July 14, 2018 at 8:40 AM #63136
I think definitely lesson number one is: Go with the Flow…or Roll with the Punches. I was having a discussion with somebody about this the other day…like…well, I don’t do poisons, except for this year for the first time I’m trying neem oil (nontoxic to everything but leaf sucking insects) because I just don’t have time to forage for harmful insects. Anyway, I was telling this guy I just look around at the bug trends…they seem to come in waves, for a few years, then die back down, and I don’t go out of my way to try to raise a lot of the kinds of things that are in vogue in the bug world. That way I can get by without using harmful poisons, etc. I’ve also hand-picked bugs, but that’s very time-consuming and I’m just outta time to spend on stuff like that, for now. But I’ve noticed the waves of garden devouring insects, and just go with the flow…don’t go for much of the stuff that the current bug trend is after…give it four or five years and they’ll back off in numbers, to where it’s more easily dealt with, or even tolerated, then some other pest will take its place. One thing I’ve noticed about the neem oil this year…it’s doing a great job on my walking stick kales and Tramueda kales, but not helping my cabbages at all…regardless of the types of cabbage. I’m puzzled by that…wondering if neem oil clings to kale leaves better than cabbage leaves or something. Then, I grew this other weird kind of green this year…it’s heirloom, like all my stuff, so you can collect the seeds and plant indefinitely….anyway, it’s called lettuce celtuce…I think I got it spelled right. It’s a weird looking plant (I love weird plants…lol) and grows here great…it’s had not one single bug on it…I like that! Plus, you can eat the leaves as lettuce, on a sandwich or something (in my opinion would not make a good salad, but I’m not a salad eater so I don’t know)…then also you can cook up the greens…I’ve only done that in stir frys and with other greens…but they are great. They are already starting to go to seed, but the greens still taste good and I’m anxiously awaiting those seeds…A plus in my book! Then I grew this other weird heirloom for the first time this year called strawberry spinach…it’s a kind of spinach with red berries you can also eat…yes, weird. Well, I was unhappy…unhappy with the leaves (tiny and cook down to nothin’) and the berries…there’s not many of them and they taste bad…so no more of that. I’m big on greens in general, but not so much on spinach…my thinking if I want spinach is to sit back and wait…the lamb’s quarters are everywhere for free…the leaves are bigger than strawberry spinach leaves and actually tastes better…it give you an enormous amout of seeds you can eat or grow…free…just grows for free…so…back to lambsquarters for me, out with the strawberry spinach. Bugs don’t seem to bother either one. Now, I grew this other green thats some kinda Japanese mustard green…gosh…bugs barely touched it, not much of a problem…it gave us loadds of greens and a very mild mustard green. It finally went to seed but we’ve had an outbreak of Asian stink bugs that come in your house all winter and hang out in your garden all summer…they are big and tough to kill…anyway…there are tons of seed pods but the doggone stinkbugs are eating them up before they get a chance to get ripe enough to save…hopefully I’ll get some. I don’t know of a way to kill the stink bugs…inside we vacuum them in the winter…I tried that off the plants a few summers ago, but they are smart bugs…they see that thing coming and drop or fly…you can smash them if you catch them but your hands will smell awful for a couple of days and they are hard to catch. Anyway….we finally have squashes again, after I quit growing them for a few years because of the squash vine borer that got to be a huge problem around here…I’m using the neem oil on the vines, hoping either the problem is lightening up naturally or , and/or, the neem oil might kill them. I’ve always grown my rattlesnake green beans, because no bug on earth seems to hurt them…they do get attacked, but they produce bigtime anyway…no treatment given. Now our grapes are messed up because it has been so wet, i guess…so…not sure we’ll get any or many grapes. anway…that’s what I’ve learned…look around…don’t try to do what looks like automatic failure…go for what looks like it’s gonna work, at any given moment. I guess I apply that to fiddle tunes as well…don’t try to play what’s gonna take a hundred years to learn…I mean…mess around with it, because maybe some day it’ll come around for ya…but…play the daylights outta things that are working for you….I’m not giving advice here, I’m just saying what seems to be working for me. So, in just a hundred short years, I’ll be playing Orange Blossom Special…lol. I’ll be growing strawberry spinach again, maybe too, hey?July 14, 2018 at 10:18 AM #63141
Thanks for all the advice CricketJuly 14, 2018 at 10:23 AM #63142
well…I’m in no position to give advice…but just saying what works for me in my life…whether gardening, fiddling, or whatever. If I get to where I can grow cabbage wihtout bugs or play Orange Blossom Special…please come to my 164th birthday party…lol. Maybe I’ll get lucky and that’ll happen sooner, but I’m concentrating on plausibility, here.July 14, 2018 at 7:29 PM #63149
I wish you could try some of our cool weather spinach Cricket. It’s better than a big beef steak. I’m going out now & cut a mess for supper…July 14, 2018 at 8:46 PM #63151
How long will it take me to get up there? I’m hungry!July 14, 2018 at 10:22 PM #63153
I’ve heard of using neem oil! Thanks for the update, Cricket — I enjoy reading your stuff!July 15, 2018 at 6:55 AM #63171
Oh now I have a new problem. I’ve grown marigolds, which repel lots of bugs…good to have around. Anyway, they aren’t edible, so I switched to the calendula this year…they call it pot marigold, but it’s in another family and is edible and has all those eye nutrients in it. Well, I just figured like other marigolds, real marigolds, bugs would leave it alone. I mean, you get pollinators, but they’re GOOD. Yesterday when I gathered my calendula blossoms, I saw they had become infested and eaten up by cabbage butterfly caterpillars…I’m like…WHAT? They eat leaves…greens…I’ve never ever seen them attack blossoms! Now what…I can’t spray neem oil on blossoms…don’t wanna kill bees, butterflys…whatever pollinators…and those blossoms are attracting lots of little mason bees and all kinds of pollinators…and I think hand picking the butterfly eggs would really be tough…you can find them on the undersides of cabbage leaves, kale leaves, etc., but … I think they’d be hard to spot in the complexity of a flower. Not to mention I just don’t have the time to look…which is why I got the neem oil this year…so…another lesson in life…cabbage butterflys will destroy calendula blossoms. Hmmm…gonna have to think about this one for a while. I’ve been eating a blossom each day and have two quarts of them put by. That ain’t gonna last me if the rest of summer’s calendula blossoms get gobbled up by worms.July 15, 2018 at 7:35 AM #63172
By reading your posts, I’m able to discern that you have amassed a great and useful wealth of knowledge of plants and insects. I think this is wonderful. Good for you, Cricket!July 15, 2018 at 12:18 PM #63184
well, I’m pretty sure if you sat down over coffee, or, more likely, cabbage, with a cabbage butterfly, you’d hear some great tales of experience and wisdom…far beyond what I’ve been able to figure out…lol. Just try to get ’em to talk, though…I try all the time…they’re not saying anything. Tight-lipped, or tight-proboscised, is what they are.July 15, 2018 at 3:48 PM #63195
The problem with that is, usually, you can’t believe anything a cabbage butterfly says anyhow Cricket…July 15, 2018 at 4:24 PM #63196
I definitely go with the flow a lot. I work too much to garden. The few flowers I planted died off during the heatwave. I have a fantastic Christmas Cactus though. I have figured out the secret to them. Except last year it bloomed for Thanksgiving, but I was pleased just to have blooms.July 15, 2018 at 7:01 PM #63205
Rodger…you’re just breaking my heart…those butterflys would lie to me????? Fran…we’ve struggled with the heat wave too…it’s been rough on everything, hasn’t it? I think a Christmas cactus blooming on Thanksgiving sounds like something beautiful to set the mood for the coming Christmas holiday season.
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