The Life of a Gardener

I promised I’d share some pictures of the baby plants. These are lettuce babies.

Unfortunately, I went out to check on the garden this afternoon before milking, and they were all gone, every last green baby leaf, gone. I was pretty bummed out, and annoyed with myself as there are a few small holes that I’ve known about but didn’t think the birds had figured out yet. I can’t believe how crafty they are.

Later while I was milking, Mr. A asked me what was wrong; I guess I looked pretty dejected. I told him I didn’t know why I kept trying – just yesterday I’d gotten my 2009 catalog from Pinetree Seeds, my favorite seed company and had been taking some time to look over the various seeds available. It is one of my favorite things to do, and I allow myself the luxury of looking all the way through this one catalog. I mark all the seeds I might like to try, and I was thinking forward to the seeds I’ll need for January and February (eggplant, tomato and sunflowers). And then I go out to the garden and find half the baby plants have disappeared.

After I whined, I decided to look on the bright side and said, “It’s not the end of the world. I can plant more lettuce; I have more seeds and we can plant lettuce anytime up until January. So if we close up all the holes like we should have done in the first place to protect the other baby plants, I can plant more seeds.”

While I processed the milk, Mr. A got started on the repairs. I got my seeds and went out to survey the damage and help with the repairs. I was sitting there, and I saw a grasshopper.

I turned to Mr. A and said, “Look at that. Do you think grasshoppers could be eating my babies?” On Saturday I’d noticed a couple dozen grasshoppers flying and hopping out of my way as I walked through the garden. Then, as if on cue, the insect walked over to my baby beets, took hold of the leaves with his front legs and began nibbling! If you click on the photo you can see a larger image and I have added in four arrows where you can see the headless beet babies. Not only are the lettuce gone, but beet babies are headless, too!! WAaahhhhh!

Here’s a blurry, but closer image.

As soon as I snapped some photos I tried to grab him but he flew out of the garden area.

Sheesh. How do I stop grasshoppers from eating my garden? The birds would eat them, but can’t let the birds in because they’ll eat the plants, too. It seems like every year it’s something new. Birds, cottontail rabbits, desert squirrels, desert chipmunks, rattlesnakes (although they don’t eat the plants, only endanger the humans), fire ants (which skeletonize some plants, effectively killing them), gophers and now grasshoppers. Sigh.

Hopefully it’s not just the grasshoppers eating the baby plants, hopefully it has also been birds, and the repair work Mr. A did today will stop any birds from getting in, and the grasshoppers are only nibbling.

I did plant more lettuce seeds, and I will buy more seeds. I am hoping the weather will cool down soon. It has been unseasonably warm, to the point some of my lettuce has actually bolted!! In one of my first gardening posts, Funny About Money asked if my lettuce wouldn’t bolt and I assured her it would not since the weather would cool down long before it had a chance to go to seed. Well, I never expected summer to last into November. Goodness. But apparently some weather reports are warning that we might get some rain by Thanksgiving Day. I LOVE THE RAIN. The rain should bring cold weather, which should get rid of the grasshoppers.

Yours Truly,

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