We're not reaping much from the garden lately. Spinach and lettuce bolted, or became bug food. Strawberries have stopped producing. I've not gotten a single poblano or jalapeno pepper, though I've had plenty of blooms on the poblano plant. One tomato plant, a cherry called Sugary, is making quite a few tomatoes. The Early Girl has put on one more. The rest are getting blooms but not fruit, which is to be expected in this heat, but it still feels like the plants are sticking their tongues out at me. The chard plants are looking better than they did a few weeks ago, when I had a caterpillar (cabbage worm?) infestation.
The sunflowers are finally starting to bloom, and have also attracted a few bees and other flying pollinators. Here's a smaller one:
|Notice the lurking grasshopper.|
However, a great many of my plants still look like this...
...eaten down to almost nothing. I suspect two culprits. There are the grasshoppers, and this guy:
I don't know what he is. When these bugs first appeared, I hoped they might be beneficial; maybe eat some aphids or something. But, noooo...they're leaf eaters. They're easy to catch, at least.
And catching bugs is what I spend the majority of my time in the garden doing these days. It's mostly grasshoppers, though. They're hanging out on every plant. I've never seen so many (though I've heard stories of them being much worse). I don't know if they're more plentiful in general this year, or if they're all just hanging around my yard for the garden. There's plenty of them in the front yard flowerbeds, too, where I have herbs planted.
The good news is, they've fed so well that they've gotten big and slow, and are easier to catch. The bad news is, I'm a softie. I can't kill them. It's not that I don't want to hurt the poor little garden-rapers. It's just that I don't want to squish them, because it's icky. The hubster will catch them, pull a couple legs off and throw them in the yard for the dog to find (she loves to catch them). But that seems cruel to me. Instead, I've become a one-woman grasshopper rehoming agency. I catch them, put them in a coffee can, transport them to far-away, garden-free patches of green space, and let them go. It's weird, I know. Eventually I'll probably tire of the Grasshopper Express and find another way to deal with it. I'd like to believe that I'm seeing fewer of them around, but that's probably just wishful thinking.