I may or may not have mentioned previously that I am growing a container garden. The Gnomes and I have enjoyed it immensely. They get to see the garden grow, and I get to know where my broccoli is coming from. It’s also been the only successful attempt at getting my children to actually eat peas without screaming like they’re dying. Or glaring as if I was slowly chopping an arm off. Or whining until my ears fall off. Or… well you get the point. Regardless! It is an organic garden and while that is most delightfully delicious, and trendy by happenstance, it comes with issues of its own.
Like.. Fertilizer. And pest control.
I have resorted mainly to companion planting to keep my garden pest free. And, after all, we’re three floors up, how many pests can I get? So this year, I planted fennel, dill, and chamomile to attract beneficial insects. But, as I am realizing, I didn’t plant any deterrents. Note to self. Yesterday I was showing my beautiful strawberry plants (they’re HUGE!) to my father-in-law, and what do we find? Half eaten broccoli. Seemingly overnight. Upon inspection, there’s tons of black specks everywhere. Great, I think to myself, bugs. So, I do some searching, and come up with flea beetles. They’re annoying at best, and devastating to seedlings, but there’s measures to take, and they’re pretty much past the worst stage, so it should be fine. But then, as I’m reading the descrption, I realize that they hadn’t jumped off the leaf when I poked at them. I make a note to myself to check again in the morning, as they could also be black aphids, and go to sleep.
This morning, I woke up, and I did some other things first before checking again. I figured that since they were supposed to be past the worst of it, it would be fine. Well. I was wrong. What I thought was bugs was actually poop, the damage was quite a bit worse today, and… there were over a dozen adorable, fuzzy, BIG…. inchy caterpillars. Ah, cabbage worms. There’s a couple varieties, but I’m fairly certain this one belongs to those cute little white moths that flutter about in summer. Either way, they were eating my broccoli. The Gnomes were thrilled to be hunting caterpillars, so we picked them all off with my tweezers and put them in a glass jar. Now what to do? Well, I guess we had better rehome them! No need to kill some bird’s food. Also, they were making cute little inchy faces at me and I just couldn’t. So…
We went on an adventure. We rehomed them in the forest on a bush, and found ourselves at the park. I ended up playing the spider catching the boy flies… Let me tell you! We’re doing workouts wrong. I got more sweaty at the playground than I did at the gym a couple weeks ago. Ouch! Anyway. What was originally pest control turned out to be a gallivant in the woods.
See? Organic gardening is totally an adventure in the making. Also… just in case they come back, I’ve got a giant jar of cayenne pepper garden spray brewing on my counter. I hear spicy leaves don’t really taste that good to inchy caterpillars.