Friday, June 4, 2010

In everything there is balance...

Although most things are growing steadily here at the home gardens, I was dismayed to find many of the leaves being eaten by some pesky pest; particularly the variety of lettuces and greens, although the pest enjoys the leaves of beets and radishes, too. I have some helpful people problem-solving it with me...the trick is to actually SEE what is eating my plant. I have noticed a tiny green worm (looks like a mini inch worm)--could something that tiny and cute do that much damage?? I have also noticed a microscopic looks-like-a-mosquito type of insect...when I saw two of them on the back of the lettuce leaf they looked harmless and almost as though they were enjoying the shelter out of the continual rain we seem to be having. Sigh. Once I figure out what the pest is, then I have to take care of it, pronto. I have a whole bunch of new mixed lettuce plants growing outside from seed and I want to protect them if at all possible. Disappointing in one way...but I have that tiny voice in my head that is saying, "think of all you are learning this year..."

On a happier note, the first cucumbers are peeking into the world...The flower at it's tip looks almost like a crown. Sweet and beautiful. I loved that my camera caught such detail...whoever takes the time to look this closely at a cucumber growing...for that matter, how many people have even seen a cucumber while it is this small (that was me three years ago!) I am delighted by the tenacity of these little plants. Look how strong it is already!

This is the quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) that sprouted after only four days. Amazing really! I love this food. Although many refer to it as a grain (and an ancient one at that), it is actually a seed. It is one of the few foods on this earth that is a complete protein (sooo terrific for us vegetarians). I have eaten it warm for breakfast, in place of oatmeal; cold in a salad with fresh spring veggies and a light olive oil and lemon dressing; hot in place of rice with curry. I just heard that you can also put it in chocolate cake!! Here is a great blog of info (not so much pictures) I found:

While I was busy cleaning out my greenhouse yesterday, my 10 year old pup decided, for the first time in a year, to play with the rat trap. ARGHHH! Now, I am not one to want to kill animals; however, last year the rats multiplied and multiplied and multiplied. So there is one trap, and since population management was achieved last year, there has been no more bait put in it. However, yesterday found my little dog with her nose stuck as far in the hole as possible and she was clearly very wound up lifting it off the ground. We managed to tear her away and turn a heavy wheelbarrow over it. All seemed well.

Then, about two hours later, she had her stubby tail tucked (if it was full length it would have been between her legs), tremors in her back end and legs and she was trembling all over. She barely moved and kept her head down...oh-oh. We thought maybe, just maybe, there was a small bit of poison she ingested. An emergency trip to the vet, $300 later to make her vomit and give her Vitamin K (what rat poison depletes), and she was spunky and good as new. What this means of course is that when she came home and went back out into the yard she headed right back over to the same spot. I followed her and low and behold, there was a small sized rat...perished! Chaos ensued. I had to hoist my little dog on my hip, grab my big dog by the tail and drag him out of there...then I had to go back, with Sprinkle, to take care of the rat. It took some time to get myself ready and not be too squeamish. As I lifted it gently on the shovel, I acknowledged it's little life.

Remember, the title of my blog is "I WANNA be a farmer"...not that I AM a farmer...yet. However, I think with the lettuces being eaten by pests and my impending pest-hunt this weekend, my dog tracking and possibly killing a rat (and maybe being poisoned herself), an invasion of honey bees that make me very nervous (perhaps a story for next post?), dealing with clay-based and soggy soil, and some lovely food beginning to grow...maybe, just maybe, I'm a little further along the path to BECOMING a farmer.

And so, this week some plants flourished while others are beginning to perish. My intention was to feed people; looks like other beings have got a head start! Wish me luck on my pest patrol this weekend and if you have any ideas or suggestions, I welcome your offerings in the comments section below. Remember, only organic options are needed. Be well and thanks for visiting.


  1. The green worm is a cabbage moth soon to be. I have them eating my broccoli leaves. The thing to do is to remove them by hand. I've taken to using collars on these tall plants, perhaps it will help protect them.

    The fly like insects are aphids, which I'm told are bad this year due to a lack of any lengthy cold spell. I am a new gardener with my first urban back yard vegetable beds and have been dismayed by the arrival of aphids, which have me rubbing them off with my fingers. They suck juice from the veins of the leaves. Use a spray nozzle to hose them off. The ants and the slugs are getting into my beds and nibbling on the crop too. I am not doing so well with my cucumbers as I started too early, yours are so lovely. Happy growing.

  2. Love the cucumber pretty & tiny. I love fresh veggies & really enjoy keeping herbs. I did venture to my first veggie garden a few years ago. It did great!! I became pregnant with my third child, and was unfortunately so morning sick that I couldn't enjoy the harvest. A shame I didn't even get a picture!!

  3. I've never seen quinoa growing! And sprouts after only a few days. Awesome.

  4. Just found your it! We started our first garden this year but we don't have the space to do anything big. I wish we could do more but I'm happy that we can do anything at all. What you're doing is great! Can't wait to follow along.

  5. What a great blog. I'm trying to grow an urban garden (not a farm). I too am growing lettuce, butterhead, and the slugs and snails love it. I still eat it anyway. It's eye opening when you go to the grocery store and see perfect lettuce, they must use some chemical to make it that way, don't you think. I like to say my lettuce is pesticide free though not pest free! :)

    What you're seeing on the beets may be the leaf miner. It doesn't harm the root just the leaves though if it eats enough of the leaf the root may not continue to grow. I haven't found a solution except row cover but in the summer it would make things too hot.