Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Murder in the Garden

Many horse owners have barns, pastures and gardens. This spring and summer, my own gardens were awe-inspiring. My daughter snapped this photo of our sunflowers, an incredible example of the beauty and tranquility of nature. Our peach tree is heavy with fruit and despite the drought, I've enough zuchinni to make cake and bread and enough tomatoes to pass out to friends. Yes, my garden brings out my soft side of tenderer of the earth. However, as the summer progresses, the garden slowly brings out my dark murdering side.

First it was the tent caterpillars. Armed with clippers, I cut off their nests and dropped them in a bucket of soapy water where I happily watched them drown.

Next it was the giant, green tomato caterpillars. Gleefully, I plucked them off with my fingers and stomped them to death under flip flops and sandals. They have been vanquished, but now I'm fighting the blight, which curls and yellows the plant's leaves, and blossom end rot, which ruins the fruit.

And the poor peaches. I must be ever-vigilant if they are to survive the brown rot as well as the onslaught of sucking, poking and chewing insects and critters. Since the critters aren't greedy, we have made a truce. The insects, however, I attack with a vengeance. I foolishly dream about organic gardening and attempt to keep the insects under control with my "Bucket of Death." But then I snap; the sight of bugs ravaging my fruit and vegetables causes a primal urge to kill to bubble to the surface. Grabbing spray bottles and Sevin powder, I attack in a frenzy. As I spritz and stomp and kill, I think of book titles (Those of you who are writers will totally get this):

Murder in the Peach Orchard
A Thousand Deaths
The Telltale Rot
Smash, Crunch, Ooze

Am I winning this murderous battle? Never.
I hear the hum and buzz of the beetles.
Quickly I spring to action; I must ready my Bucket of Death.


HeatherBl├╝ said...

This is great! I desire to be a good gardener but alas The Florida heat and my purple thumb are against me!
Garden on! great pictures!

Ann Flowers said...

Being a great lover of garden art, I enjoyed going through your blog. keep on posting.

Alison said...

The photos are compliments of my talented daughter, Beth, who is as talented with a camera as I am with a spray bottle of poison!

Francesca Prescott said...

Alison, I love your photos, and your writing is great! I can relate to the quandry of whether or not to use chemicals, I've not put anything on my tomatoes for years yet more often than not they end up with some sort of disease, or eaten by bugs. My peaches also got a disease this year, the leaves went all arthritic looking and the flowers fell off, so I've got about two sad little peaches sitting there trying to get ripe! Oh, and my strawberries were fabulous, but I made the mistake of asking my husband to spray the FLOWERS in the garden with something against white fly (we were infested with the little creeps) and he turned into Rambo and blasted everything in sight, including the strawberries and my herb garden. We couldn't eat anything at all!!! Thank goodness I caught him before he went on a full garden rampage.

Anonymous said...

We have many bugs in our garden. My wife placed a few tomato worms in a ziplock bag, took off her flipflops and squash it flat tip-toeing.. Big satisfying squirt!