Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Garden Mania

Summer is in full-swing now, and the yard is popping. I have been out at night, wearing a headlamp as if I'm going to do a little coal mining in my front lawn, to battle earwigs and prove to my neighbors once and for all that I am slightly insane when it comes to my garden. More specifically, when it comes to preventing the zinnias and sunflowers I started by seed back in early April from being completely skeletonized by a swarm of disgusting brown bugs with PINCERS. (Yeah, I had to look up how to spell that. It looks weird, doesn't it?)

So let me take you on a tour of the garden. First we have little green clusters of cherry tomatoes. I am counting the days until I can harvest these babies, most of which are destined for slow-roasting and freezing so I can taste some sunshine in January.

Here we have the blossom of a Delicata squash plant. If you haven't tried Delicata squash, you must--it tastes a bit like corn on the cob: sweet, fragrant, creamy, and perfect with sage, brown sugar, and butter.

I don't know what the hell is going on in the next photo other than it's completely out of control. I have to lift this shit up with a heavy-duty stick so my husband can mow the 0.5 inches of lawn you see...when he gets to this section he calls, "Stick girl!" and I come running. I think next year I'm ripping up the lawn and replacing it with a creeping groundcover. I retire the stick and the jungle wins.

Below are the two hanging baskets that have been absolutely infested with aphids. I have hosed them off, sprayed them with clove and garlic oil, and hand-squished aphids until my fingers were sticky. I am currently awaiting shipment of a magical product called "Aphid Chaser," which consists of pheromone-treated rubber disks that attach to the plant and send an alarm message that scares the aphids enough that they stop eating and move on. Makes me wish someone would invent "Nacho Chaser," which I could snap onto my wrists like little bracelets so I'd be alarmed into putting the chips down.

Also, in case you think this sounds like magical nonsense, I used them last year and THEY WORKED.

The basil below will be turned into a delightful pesto by next week, after I buy a new food processor because my last one crapped out on me. It's hard to tell in this photo, but the basil bush is two and a half feet tall.

My first Mexican sunflower bloom! In another month this plant will be two feet taller, bushier, and covered in dark orange daisies. It's a bona-fide butterfly magnet.

And last but not least, one of the bunnies from the explosion of rabbits inhabiting my yard. One of them is so small he could fit in the palm of my hand. That little guy lives under my daylilies, and he's become quite fond of my ornamental peppers. I've lost a few plants to these adorable buns, but I can't stay mad at them for long. It's like the universe is laughing at me for the $100 baby bunny I drove to the rehabber two summers ago.

To protect my perennials, I have been sprinkling a disgusting product called "Rabbit Scram" around the perimeter of my beds. This product is made of blood meal, pepper, and ground, dehydrated meat. The last time I sprinkled it some poofed up and I accidentally inhaled it. I have been a vegetarian for nearly ten years, and all it takes is a few adorable but ravenous rabbits threatening my garden and there you have it. I'm snorting meat dust.

I'll have to do some before-and after photos in the next post, because I am completely amazed at the progress things have made in just three weeks. Until then, I'm revising my novel proposal. I hope to ship it off to my agent soon...fingers, toes, and eyes crossed!


  1. Jess, congrats on your fruitful endeavour! Lansing has not been as kind to me this year, as something--rabbit? woodchuck? deer?--has been steadily eating my tomatoes, peppers, zucchinis, watermelons with wild abandon. I've planted and replanted...and replanted. Oh well, I'm keeping the local urban wildlife fed, right?

    Question for do you deal with weeds? I have weeds--ragweed, crabgrass, you name it--barreling through my veggie garden and my native flower garden and picking it out one-by-one has gotten depressingly futile. Any all-natural suggestions?

    Thanks for sharing stories and pix of your once-again amazing victory garden, and all the digits are crossed for your novel proposal. Good luck!

  2. Anonymous8:41 AM

    The photos and your garden/yard are so lovely! Also, you totally cracked me up with the "snorting meat dust" comment! Hug to you. Rena

  3. Ah, weeds...I usually hand-pull, but I plant so closely that they're not too bad. The trick is to try and stay on top of them, I think. I also put down a mulch of grass clippings, and that seems to be helping. Good luck!! This is why gardening is so "relaxing," right? ;)