For some reason, I have a brown thumb this summer. The only plants that are thriving in my yard are the weeds. I did all that planting during the month of May… I’ve given everything a month to dig in and GROW. Sadly, I have to admit that my success rate is unusually low this year. My geraniums look stunted, the slugs have attacked my planter boxes on my front porch, the shrub border is sporting a brand new crop of weeds, and one whole side of my "fountain garden" is dead or dying. (The same plants planted on the other side of the garden are thriving. And it’s just a small area…a circle about 12 feet in diameter. I don’t understand how one half of it can be fine and the other half look like it’s been hit with "Round-up…")
My wonderful "salad garden" outside my patio door is looking really puny. Now, I thought I gave those plants the best that could be had as far as soil. I went and bought some of that incredibly expensive "Miracle Grow" stuff, mixed it with regular cheapo potting soil and some compost. NOT having a lot of success, though. The squash keep putting out flowers, which drop off and don’t produce fruit. I know the plants are really too small yet to be producing fruit, but why do they keep making flowers? My peppers look like hell. I decided to buy some more "exotic" varieties this year…like jalapenos and some little things called "sweet cherry peppers." Some of them have not grown an inch since I put them in. Some of them have grown, but the old leaves keep yellowing and dropping …the plants just basically look BAD. The only ones that seem to be doing anything are the good old sweet green bell peppers.
I decided to harvest some of my lettucelast night for dinner. It’s actually looking very good, and is at the stage where it’s just past what you would call "mesclun…" Not little baby leaves anymore, but not big and tough, either. Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it? Mine too. I cut some yesterday afternoon, rinsed it, patted it dry on paper towels, and put it in the fridge to "crisp" for dinner. Dinner time comes, I proudly whip out my home-grown bounty, flip back the damp paper towel I had covering it… And am greeted by hundreds of little bugs. Cold, slow-moving, but still alive little bugs, wriggling around on the paper towels wrapping my lettuce. Ugh! What’s up with that? Apparently, aphids don’t "rinse off" so good. They hang on for dear life. Hmm...what to do? I had read somewhere that you’re supposed to soak home-grown broccoli in salt water to get rid of the insect life before you eat it…so, I dumped my greenery into a salt-water bath, left it sit for awhile, then pulled each leaf out, rinsed it individually, and dropped it into my salad bowl.
What a pain in the butt! Makes you wonder what the allure is to growing your own if it's so much bother. I guess you have a choice between eating pesticides from the grocery store, or eating bugs on home-grown. I guess the bugs are better for you, but the idea of adding that kind of protein to my diet does NOT exactly make me want to turn cartwheels. I wonder if Weight Watchers has calculated the points in a tablespoon of aphids?