Monday, July 29, 2013

Hopeless Garden

So, I start out every garden season brimming with overabundant plans for nature's future largesse; but for the most part, it seems that I crash and burn.

Apparently I am not blessed with a green thumb.

baby squash bugs

not all ladybugs are good for gardens
Today I reached a particularly low point - I've been faithfully trying to revive my butternut squash plants so that they don't die for the third year in a row, but die they did. And I still, after all this time, couldn't even really tell what killed them. There have been some plagues of squash bugs, but I've been all over them with a water-sprayer of dishsoap solution, and the poor dead plant was bug-free after having been crawling with them just last week. The wilted leaves had no apparent bug damage.

We've had great weather, so it can't be that; I'd say squash borers, but I can't find any evidence on the stem, plus I sprayed them with nasty, icky malathion for just that reason at the beginning of the season. I cried bitter tears and regarded the rest of my sad-looking garden with my best Bassett-hound face. It took me 2 hours to pull out of that funk tonight, I was feeling so hopeless. I'm just wasting my valuable time and money, and who am I kidding that I'll be able to double that space and feed my family next year?

This is my sixth year of gardening, and out of those six years, I've only gotten a really good crop of zucchini once; tomatoes once; still no peppers or beans EVER, and peas, beets, and corn worth mentioning also only once. The only things I've gotten from year to year are lettuce, usually cucumbers, and zinnias (except no zinnias this year, either). Oh, and of course, cilantro. We get tons of cilantro even when I don't plant it, it self-seeds so easily, but no one but me likes it! Useless, I tell you. So I'm not holding my breath that the few plants left alive in my garden at this point will bear anything of note. The remaining plants that are still putting out viable leaves right now (cucumbers, sunflowers, green beans) are all from a second-seeding anyway because my first never sprouted. Even if they do still bear fruit, it will be late and short.

Yet, I was optimistic enough a week or so ago, believe it or not, to seed some zucchini plants for the third time, in hopes that there may yet be a cucurbit or two in my future even if it's only for a brief week in September. And I have to count my blessings, we got a few potatoes on our first try this year, which the kids really enjoyed digging up and frying into some chips. That kale we've been harvesting was really, really very nearly a goner in its seedling stage, when it was an inch tall and surrounded by a jungle of 2-foot weeds. I spent what I fully anticipated to be wasted hours uncovering it with careful, almost surgical care.

So which way should I seesaw at this point? Do I throw up my hands and let the weeds and bugs take over, or do I go out there in August and faithfully try to plant a second season of lettuce? Do I keep trekking out to the plot to check on the new zucchini plants (which sprouted in a record 4 days, by the way) for signs of borers, even though I'm coming back to the house empty-handed? On the cusp of August, I should be running out of room to carry my harvest, but I've got nothing. Is this all learning that will help in the future, or is my impression that my garden gets worse every year correct?

A pep talk would be really nice. Or a magic wand. Anyone?

D'you think we can make it? The little zucchini that could...

1 comment:

  1. Oh Kristin, Kristin.... thank you so much for sharing this! My hopelessly brown thumb gives me the same feelings and I never in a million years would have guessed you bear the same plight! Hugs and laughter. How can such produce lovers as we have such ironic woes??