June 29, 2009

Beet it!

I was away in California and then NJ for about 10 days and, as is the norm when traveling during the season, I worried about my garden while I was away.

Luckily it rained almost the entire time I was gone and all of the next week. Unluckily, that meant I had a lot of weeding to do this weekend.

So, like many young Americans of my generation this past weekend, I let Michael Jackson be the soundtrack to my day. I popped on the headphones, put Off the Wall and Thriller into one playlist on the ipod and got to work. I was never a die hard fan, and I pretty much stopped paying attention by the time I got to high school, but especially when I was about 12 or 13 his music was very very important to me. The garden wasn't too crowded, so not too many people saw my "moves" as I boogied to the music.

It took about 2 hours and I got MOST of the weeding done.

After being away for so long, things looked pretty different. Mostly in good ways: cucumbers have almost started climbing, the collards and celery and brussel sprouts look huge and the tomato plants look to be disease free, despite all the rain. The big blow was evidence of my two most hated (after cut worms of course) bugs: beet leafminers and cucumber beetles.

I found a few things online that said that radishes repel cucumber beetles, so even though it's way too hot for 'em. I planted some seeds next to the cukes. I only saw one teeny tiny beetle in the California Poppies (which look great!), but it's early and I'm anticipating a swarm.

I'm feeling at a loss in terms of the leafminers though. I removed one of the leaves that seemed the worst and will probably go back and remove more if necessary. You can see from the top photo that the injuries from these evil pests are really really ugly. Even though I'll still be able to eat the beets, I want the greens too AND I definitely don't want them to infect other plants.

We've got a 3 day weekend coming up though and it's supposed to be sunny, so I'm hoping I'll have some more time to be in the garden and do battles against the evil bugs who plan my plants harm.