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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Garden pests

When we lived in Modesto, we paid a nickel for every tomato worm the kids collected. It's astonishing how much they can eat in such a short time. Capital punishment for these pests was usually a toss onto the hot summer roof of the house. By the time they were baked out there was no carcass for disposal. They must have been 99.9 % water.

So far in our present home, the major offenders are snails. Pitching them into the street is a lot of fun, but it doesn't work for the culprits I find in the back yard. These perps simply get stomped. I put out snail pellets, and many of them meet their demise with slow agony. (Do they actually experience pain?) But mercy at my hands (or feet as the case may be) means the quick and messy death under my shoe.

Last year I planted my first effort at growing a watermelon. To my horror the sprout was barely visible the next day because the leaves had all been eaten, and one of the stems was severed. I loaded the flowerbed with poison overkill, and to my delight the plant even survived this horrific ordeal. In fact we grew a delicious, juicy watermelon which has been celebrated in an old blog post.

This year, among other plants, I put an eggplant in the exact same spot where the watermelon grew last year. I don't learn very quickly, however. I was again horrified to see the leaves disappeared overnight. More stomping and more poison. I'm hoping the little stalk will recover like the watermelon did, but there aren't many signs of hope as yet.

I have lettuce plants under whose leaves some snails have sought refuge, but so far they have systematically been plucked and stomped. Just before the recent rain storm I sowed lettuce seeds under the happy fig tree. I also have two tomato plants that are looking strong and healthy. One even sports two blossoms, and they both show several promising buds. Summer BLTs are already making my salivary glands pump.

I'm glad I'm not a Hindu.

1 comment:

  1. Haha Pastor Keller- my mom too throws nasty garden pests onto the roof, the neighbor's roof, and by the mid-morning of the Central Valley summer heat those snails are fried.
    Mmm yummy!. Are you planning any vacations this summer? I did just make an eggplant parmigiana from scratch and think it would be fun to do that again. Your blog has me hungry now. Oh, it is nearly dinner time, too :)
    And by the way-- I like to throw snails too.