21 November 2010

bugs bummin' me out

the grey cabbage aphid is destroying all my brassicas! the kale was hit the hardest, but now they are going after the beloved brussel sprouts, the young cauliflower, and i even saw a few on the arugula! it makes no sense. i had never seen them until this fall, and they came on strong. my russian kale was lush just a month ago. they attack the young, tender, new leaves, which basically stunts the growth of the plant, and eventually kills it.

since i garden organically, i am used to hand-picking pests off of my plants. it is one of the benefits of having a small, back yard garden--a person can usually notice and keep up with pest problems. i started by removing these vile creatures with my bare hands, sort of sweeping the leaves with my thumb. but now i just blast them with a strong stream of water from the hose.

it gets them off the plants, but i have to keep doing it, every day. i finally gave up on the kale, and pulled it today. i hope to save the brussels sprouts and califlower, but i don't have a whole lot of hope.

in other bug related news, fruit flies have found my worm composting bins--both at home, and at work. again, this is a new phenomenon for me, and started in the fall. at home, they migrated to the kitchen, too. we have tried everything, including removing any possible food sources cleaning meticulously (and drying everything), plus trapping them with vinegar. we have reduced their population immensely. lately, we "vacuum" them up with the back of a hair dryer. it is strange, but effective (and secretly satisfying).

so far though, i'm not really finding any answers about the worm bin problem. experts say to bury the food scraps in the bedding, or to wrap them in newspaper to avoid attracting fruit flies. i always do one or both of those things, and have never had a problem. now, i still do those things, and i have a fruit fly infestation, and it is not going away. it is especially problematic at work, as i am trying to get the vermiculture system established, and this is a huge set back.

your suggestions and/or commiserations welcome.

10 November 2010

for the love of brussel

this is what i was dreaming about on february 12, 2010.

that's when i planted the brussel sprout seeds, under a grow light in the basement.

we finally had some for dinner, two nights ago--almost 9 months later!
how they made it into those little tiny, tightly-packed cabbage balls, considering all the pests and drought the season thew at them, is a mystery to me.

i have a few wasps to thank, for keeping the cabbage caterpillar population under control (plant dill & fennel to attract them to your garden).

they are so yummy when they're fresh, and i've heard that the ones that come from california aren't as sweet, because they never go through a frost. ours have, and you can definitely tell.

07 November 2010

NYC [in a day, on a shoe string]

my dear friend from grad school is getting married.
it's a big deal.
they live in brooklyn.
the wedding is in jersey.
we are flat broke.
we go to the wedding.
we drive.
we camp in the hills of western new jersey.
there is miniature golf and an arcade.
the wedding is lovely.
cosmo cuts a rug on the dance floor.

(not our campsite)

next day, we take a train to the city.
it rains.
there is a long elevator ride to a foggy view.

(like a seasoned commuter)

the MOMA is mobbed.
never mind, there is art all around.

and subway rides.
and hot dogs.
deli counters.
news stands.
a small dog in a rain coat.
a bike made of bamboo.
and a long car ride home.

(congratulations l + s)

(special thanks to alan, for loaning us the iphone, so cosmo could play doodle jump. it came in mighty handy.)