June 11, 2015

Beets and bugs: this morning in the garden

Beets peaking through!
Me with my first harvest
Beet greens for us

Tiny beets for us
Turned out to be about a pint of beets

Scraps and stems for the birds

Cabbage moth invasion on my kale!

Here's what the eggs look like

That curious chicken who loves her picture taken :)

Oliver picked every last cabbage worm and egg sack off the leaves I brought out and fed them to the chickens

A natural remedy for cabbage worms I saw online - baking flour

So after several weeks of intense work on the coop, my garden has gotten away from me.  I've gone in here and there to straighten stems in tomato cages or pick huge weeds that drove me crazy, but I haven't done any intense observation or careful weeding in a while.  This morning I got up early, before the hot sun made it unbearable and went out to work in the garden.

I was excited to see beet heads popping up out of the soil and decided I needed to thin the plants some.  As they grew they were getting too close together and wouldn't be able to make very big beets.  So I thinned them and brought in my harvest of tiny new beets and lush beet greens.  I think I'll make a little jar of pickled beets tonight.  We already ate some of the greens in our wraps at lunch time.

Then I went back out to keep working and when I turned to my kale I wanted to cry.  It was absolutely covered in cabbage moth caterpillars.  I saw those tell-tale holes in the leaves and when I looked closer I spotted the plump green worms.  Under the leaves I found some clusters of eggs.  So I went inside again to do some research: what to do if those blasted worms already have a firm presence in your brassica.  The only natural solutions I saw were: something called garlic water (which I didn't have ingredients for), picking worms and eggs off one at a time (which I did with gusto but there's always more you somehow miss), and kitchen flour (which is supposed to give the worms indigestion and send them elsewhere).  I got my bag of flour from the kitchen and sprinkled away.  I figured it couldn't hurt!  Oliver and I took the caterpillars down to the chicken coop and gave the girls a nice high protein lunch.  They devoured both the worms and the eggs and we happily bid them farewell!

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