Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Caterpillars and chiggers and slugs, oh my!

The last few weeks, the camp garden has become overrun with pests! And by overrun, I mean, I couldn't even walk down there without having chiggers all OVER me, the cabbage is covered with little green caterpillars, and there were more slugs down there than... well, there were a LOT of slugs. You're just gonna have to trust me on this.

So I bought some diatomaceous earth, ordered some beneficial nematodes, and did some extra companion planting to discourage the bugs. Two bags of food grade diatomaceous earth later, the chiggers were under control (I can't tell you how happy I am about this!). Today, the summer staff came up to the garden to get oriented, and I put them to work doing a few small projects, including picking slugs and tossing them into soapy water. AND, while they were working, the UPS man delivered the nematodes - hooray!

So this evening, I watered them in and whispered sweet nothings to them, in the hopes that they will put their voracious little appetites to work REALLY SOON!

I know, I know, they just moved and I'm not giving them ample time to get settled in, but they'll get paid in a large bonus of bug food, so don't feel too sorry for them... I'm counting on them, and their millions of microscopic children, to be my main line of pest defense!

I'm hoping that between them, the D.E., and herbs planted strategically around the garden (ie. dill next to the patty pan squash to keep squash borers away) that we will be covered totally organically in the pest department.

In other news, the dandelion wine is progressing nicely. Remember when I told you that it was AWFUL smelling? It's been sitting in the fridge "settling", and once a week I take it out, filter it again, and put it back, and it actually smells like... ta da, WINE! It's still pretty murky looking, but getting a bit better. I'll keep you posted.

Have a lovely week!


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