Bugs, bugs, bugs. And I’m not talking coding here.

After awhile, bugs landing on you while you’re in the garden are as ho-hum as finding pocket lint: you’re so used to it by long exposure that it is a mere annoyance to flick one off your arm (or face) and stomp it dead.

This is what happened to me this evening as I wandered out into the back garden for the first time in quite some time after taking out a couple of very light garbage bags. Despite serious neglect, blight, and a complete invasion of leaffooted bugs, stinkbugs, and who knows what else, partying along like it’s their personal buffet, there are some things that are still growing – some completely out of control. The okra, for instance, is actually starting to lean from the weight of the uncut fruit on the stems, the largest of which are starting to curl into themselves much like those crazy fingernails people grow in a strange attempt to get into Guinness.The eggplant continues to thrive even though it was transplanted hastily before my surgery and virtually ignored since that time. The new round of peanuts, planted post-surgery, is coming up well, although we won’t be able to pluck those out until around December, assuming the weather holds. The cukes are spent, and need to be pulled, but all three varieties were excellent producers while they were producing, but next year I think we will stick with two varieties that everyone judged tastier than the third.

There are also small watermelons scattered here and there, ready to be picked, as they are hybrids specifically bred to be what amounts to a single-serving melon. I pulled one while out looking around, since the bottom was starting to yellow and get soft. After breaking it open, it showed itself to be slightly mealy from having been out too long, but otherwise a perfect specimen of a tiny version of the behemoth watermelons that are so often seen: deep, ruby red flesh studded with black seeds, the clear, strong scent of fresh fruit wafting up from the split pieces.

Other things have not fared as well, and it is a significant disappointment that another season has been lost without what should have been a bounty of zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers, both sweet and hot. Late transplants, poor weather, and medical issues both in the family and for me personally have led to pitiful looking plants, both earlier in the season and since I went in for surgery. But, like a good Cubs fan would, all I can say is: wait until next season. The good part for me is that my next season is right around the corner, even if the continued 100-degree weather makes it seem as if summer will last quite a way into the fall.

Next up: I should be receiving the shipment of garlic for fall planting. That will go into the cold room until the weather moderates a little, since these particular garlics do not like overly hot weather (not to mention that the frames where these will be planted are not ready to receive them yet). In the flats, I plan to start brussels, broccoli, cauliflower and in the frames directly, carrots and onions. If the weather cools off into the low 80s consistently, we’ll also put in a late round of snow peas.

Overall, today, looking at the state of affairs, considering all the work that has been plowed (so to speak) into the effort: disappointing and depressing.

5 thoughts on “Bugs, bugs, bugs. And I’m not talking coding here.”

  1. “But, like a good Cubs fan would, all I can say is: wait until next season.” Good advice for Jacksonville. We got more than our share of garden decimating weather. I am hoping winter will be better. Everything in mine seems to be on strike right now. No blooms whatsoever. It’ll be a shame if it all gets pulled with nary a fruit in sight. Onward!

  2. Wish I could transport my 5 different varieties of squash your way. We will be canning tomatoes this week, if our night time temps manage to stay above 50.
    I hope your are healing from the drainage. I am glad you made it out into your garden!
    My garden always gives me both joy (early season food) and depression from what doesn’t make it. This year’s battles have mostly been with rodents.. and of course the weather which we can do nothing about.

  3. I am convinced that the best thing to do when we get into the high summer term – July, mostly, or maybe mid-July through mid-August – is to just let things lie fallow and restart anything in flats that can come to fruit before “winter” when it’s transplanted. In late August or early September, toss it out into the fields or frames. This gives you a chance for general cleanup (something that needs to be done desperately around here) and a chance to do a massive bug hunt, a la Starship Troopers. Then you plant clean, and mind things through the calendar fall months, even if it doesn’t feel much like fall. At least, that’s my theory, which I hope to test one of these days if the universe will cooperate.

  4. Bug invasion here in NC as well. Little flies (like fruitflies) keep sneaking in the house and hanging out in the kitchen. It’s almost as bad as the huge ladybug invasion earlier this year! I thought ladybugs were kind of cute until that happened.

  5. Our garden is the last refuge for the multitude of insects in the tri-county area. I was taking the blowtorch (map gas) to the squash bugs on the butternut squash. Yes I was cackling most sinisterly as hundreds of them fell to the ground legless but still alive. I hate squash bugs, bitter hatred. I reserve the word hate for the seldom and only the most extreme.

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