6.26.2012

urban garden trials and tribulations

Our little babies are all grown up! We started these suckers from little baby seeds back in March/April. It's been fun to watch everything grow! But with life, comes death and unfortunately... not all of our little guys have made it. 



This is so sad but so true... I feel like these plants are my kids. No lie. Mike and I 'visit' with them every morning and at least once after work. We get so excited when something new has bloomed or is growing. And we (I especially) get so angry when anything starts messing with my kids. By anything, I mean the gigantous army of ants that just love, love, love our okra and try to completely devour the okra plants every morning. Jerks.

So, funny story. One morning, I walked out like any other morning to water the plants and  pull off dead leaves, check out the goods, etc. Lo and behold, our biggest and best producing okra plant was covered with ants. I mean COVERED. You couldn't even see the plant!

{A little back story - these ants have been all over our okra from day one. Every bud that comes, they try to devour it. Every okra, they try to eat it. They farmed aphids all over our plants. They have just been quite the unwelcomed pest.}

Anyway.. my not-so-patient-kind-calm self sucker punched the plant to stir them up (not sure this was necessary) and stormed inside to grab pesticide. Then I went backwoods crazy on the ants. I started spraying the ants, the okra, plant, the soil, the air, the next door neighbor's car. I mean I went berserk. I think my upper lip even started to sweat and my hands were shaky. The whole nine yards.

Luckily I regained consciousnesses and realized what I was doing. I felt SO bad. The ants were dying like right in front of me and then I started worrying about the rolly pollies, the bees, everything. I like slumped over and had to confess to Mike what I had just done. OK and all of this was before 8am. I mean seriously?! Talk about a rough day.

So, all of this to offer you some tidbits on getting rid of unwanted ants in a healthy {sane} way:

  -Sprinkle cornmeal around the base of the plant. The ants will take the cornmeal back to their crib and {sadly} starve.
  - If you see that you have an ant problem, check the bottom of leaves. Ants actually 'farm' aphids, which means that they spread them out to other leaves, let them reproduce and feed off of them. If you find aphids, take a paper towel and just wipe the aphids off. You can also use water to spray off the aphids. Once you get rid of their feeding grounds, they will have to search elsewhere. Check/rub down the leaves every day for awhile.
- Spray the suckers with water. As odd as it seems, just blasting them seems to stun them for awhile. They will come back later but at least you've bought yourself some time.
- Use an organic pesticide. We use Neem oil. It seems to work {especially when you go nuts on them}

Remember, bugs can be good little worker bugs in your garden.. including ants. You will want to watch their activity before getting rid of them. If you have okra though, more than likely they are sucking the nutrients out and will eat up your entire plant if you aren't careful. So, exterminate, baby, exterminate.

3 comments:

  1. Your okra problem is my tomato plant problem. We haven't been able to enjoy ONE of our many tomatoes this year because they get destroyed by bugs and squirrels! How are your herbs holding up? I've already had to replace my cilantro twice this year.

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  2. You little lioness. I hate to think what's going to happen to someone that crosses one of your kids in the future. WATCH OUT WORLD!

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  3. I feel your pain. Japanese beetles are my archenemy.

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