Wednesday, May 28, 2008

garden, bugs and what not

Regular household duties were put aside this past weekend, not so we could celebrate Memorial Day, (hope everyone had a memorable and happy one) but so we could get our garden planted. And that we did with the weather cooperating beautifully! I was probably one of the few hoping for rain on Monday. (Sorry) It never came as forecast, so we watered by hand. Both gardens are now in, aside from the onions sets and a few herbs. While in town this morning I also picked up a few additional green bean seeds so I can plant another row a bit later. Too say we were bushed is probably an understatement. It’s a lot of work, planning and preparing, not to mention all the bending and stooping. I fell asleep on the sofa by ten (which is early for me) with Coop waking me when he went to bed with, “Are you coming to bed?” Nope, I was too dang tired to get up so I slept there the rest of the night, lol!

Yesterday Coop tilled up a small patch in the back for growing dill. Although it will come in handy if I make dill pickles this year, that’s not the primary reason for the patch. My understanding is that dill will attract hornworms. Don’t misunderstand here; I sure don’t want hornworms eating up my tomato plants like last year. That’s the point ya see? My thinking is they will go to the dill as opposed to the tomatoes. Plus, and this is a really good plus, dill will also attract parasitic wasps, the hornworms natural enemy. It’s worth a try!

Now I’m thinking, too, about Japanese beetles. We handled them last year by spraying a mild solution of Dr. Bronner’s organic liquid soap and water on them. It was a daily thing while the beetles were in full force. However, I have read the best immediate and organic method is to simply knock them off into a bucket of soapy water. Makes sense. One place on the web recommended this, although I have never tried it:

Japanese Beetle Mix

This recipe is to be used in the height of the Japanese Beetle season.

1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 mashed banana
1 pkg yeast

Mix all ingredients in a milk jug. Place the jug (with the top off) in an area where Japanese Beetles gather. The bugs get in but not out.

I’m thinking it would be best to place this away from where they are prone to gather and attract them away from where they normally want to be, which is on your flowers and vegetables. The only other method I know of that is effective and safe is to use milky spore, which is something we may have to consider. I understand it takes care of them at ground level literally, preventing infestation for years. I’ll definitely look into that.

This week seems to be flying by already. Yesterday I caught up around the house, made a tasty casserole for dinner with cubed chicken breast, basmati rice, organic mushroom soup, California blend veggies, basil, onion salt, salt and pepper. It was quite yummy and a good way to use up those veggies and chicken boobs that were on the verge of getting freezer burn. Oh yeah, I threw in a few ounces of leftover mozzarella cheese, too. I do this type of dinner now and then when I’m inventorying the freezer and fridge, always with hopes it’ll taste good. It turned out to be quite tasty and Coop even ate more of it later in the evening.

I got a good buy on strawberries this week and bought extra. There’s a nice bowl full for tonight’s dessert and right now three trays are drying out in the dehydrator. The lovage and hot & spicy oregano I gathered two weeks ago are now dried and stored in baby food jars obtained from a freecycler. I cut a bunch of Greek oregano today and have it drying in baskets. It smells so good! Ooh, and to my surprise, the bergamot I planted from seed last spring is up! Yay! I had forgotten about it and almost pulled it, thinking it was a weed and then I stopped, taking note of the leaves and snipping one off to smell. Coincidentally I had just asked my niece if her bee balm were prolific enough to get a start and she said not yet. Then that very day I realized I already had some growing in my herb bed. I love synchronicity! Thanks universe!

Saturday evening my nephew, who is a head grower at one of the larger nurseries in Northern Ohio, brought down citronella plants for his sister and I to share. We each ended up with sixteen. I gave five away and still have enough to repot and basically surround my patio with natural pest control. Way cool! I’ve also managed to keep alive and blooming, the hibiscus plants he gifted me with last year, so back onto the patio they will go, also. Now if the weather just warms up and stays there long enough maybe I’ll begin to believe summer is really just around the corner! We covered the garden late last night before going to bed for fear the wind would die down and frost would hit our tender young plants.

Off I go now to check the strawberries and catch the weather forecast for tonight. Have a good one!


  1. I love the what not aspect of this post. Just a simple description of what a homesteader might do in a day. Simple pleasures, simple life, simply right.

  2. I'm totally going to try this recipe - but I'm trying to think of a suitable container - do you think a wasp catcher would work?

  3. rachael rabbit - I don't know how a wasp trap works so I really can't answer that. I've never tried the recipe either so if you do, let me know how it works for, ok?


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