Larvae and Deer and Humans, oh my!

Strange things are happening in the garden.  Seemingly at random, leaves are being plucked from their stems and whole plants are being ripped up and cast aside.  The nibbles are clearly deer.  They did a fine job in removing every sigle leaf from the Learning for Life garden’s sunflowers.  The torn up plants are decidedly un-deerlike.  Why would anyone tear up and destroy food like that, and not even take any for themselves?  I think it shows how disconnected we are from what we eat.  Most people only see corn and squash and tomatoes on a can as they’re opening it.  That someone would willfully destroy food in its most basic state indicates a fundamental lack of comprehension and appreciation for the very stuff that sustains us.

July and August brought with them the onset of squash vine borers.  These insidious little fuckers drill into the stems of young and stressed members of the squash family.  They will also go after melons and cucumbers in a pinch.  They devastated our Zucchini and some winter squashes.  The only indication of these pests is a sawdust-like “frass” or excrement emitted from the holes they bore in the stems of the plant.  If you miss this, the next symptom is severe wilting, and by then it’s too late.  I’m told you can bury parts of the vine to encourage rooting at points distal to the borer, but so far the only treatment that seems to be effective is to cut the little bastards out and crush them into a fine paste.  The last part probably isn’t necessary, but it is fun.

The sunflowers are blooming gloriously.  These guys are probably 8 feet or taller, and they are like interstate billboards for bees.  They practically crawl over each other to get to the flower heads.  The deer gave the stalks a trim earlier in the season, but they have since bounced back.  Hopefully we can cut and dry the heads before the birds get to them, but i’m not optimistic.

We made our second sale of the season to the Chester co-op on Wednesday.  Our “Gold Nugget” cherry tomatoes are amazingly abundant and we managed to gather about 8 pounds for sale.

More pictures coming as soon as we figure out Flickr!


One response to “Larvae and Deer and Humans, oh my!

  1. those vine borers are such jerks. i think it would help if we are sure to remove the plants from the soil immediately after the last harvest, rotate those beds to new plants next year, and use row covers.

    I’m really glad to hear that the gold nuggets are doing well. my friend mike says they make a great pasta sauce if you give them a quick fry in a little olive oil. try it for me?

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