Bzzzz July 12th, 2009

I’m going to call my next book Why Bad Things Happen to Good Gardeners.***

The first chapter will be entitled “Sh*t Happens and Mother Nature is on Vacation.” It will be an indignant rant about how disease, pestilence, drought, flood and other natural disasters inevitably happen to every gardener sooner or later.

I will use my own experiences as examples. I will discuss how my tomatoes have fursarium wilt—for the second year in a row, despite rotating them to an entirely new location where tomatoes have never gone before. I will describe how a legion of leaf-footed bugs decimated my tomatillos and sweet autumn clematis last year and how I haven’t seen a single one this year. I will show photos of my monarda blooming with powdery mildew.

And let’s not forget the roses, otherwise known as black spot on a stick.


The title of the second chapter is currently up in the air, but I’m considering something such as “Plants Have Loved and Lost” or “Emergency Rooms I Have Seen, Courtesy of My Fiskars Pruners.”

*big sigh*

As I was watering for hours and hours today (see chapter on drought), I was wondering to myself, “What would I do if I didn’t garden?’

Being fairly obsessed with productivity and in love with checks in little boxes on a to-do list, I would probably do something useful. But what?

I’m not considering giving up gardening. This is more like an intellectual exercise I do when I get frustrated. What would you do?

***Why do I say “next book?” Because, yes, I am writing a book. To be precise, I’m co-authoring a book currently called Grocery Gardening. You’ll be hearing more about it in coming months, but you can reserve your copy now by ordering here.

Posted In: Gardening, Gardening Life

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Bzzzz November 1st, 2007

I don’t generally air my vermin and pest control problems in public, but in this case, I will consider it a public service.

We have been besieged this fall by fruit flies. They are EVERYWHERE. They particularly come out in the evenings, for some reason.

When I was a kid in the South, we called them gnats. Now that I’m all sophisticated, I call them fruit flies just like all my sophisticated friends.

It’s not the first time this particular plague has visited. But some years just seem to be worse than others. I recall one year—before I figured out all the ways to avoid and trap fruit flies—I resorted to sitting on the couch to read armed with the vacuum cleaner, which I had to turn on from time to time to suck up the fruit flies that had congregated near me. It was really ridiculous.

Since then, I have tried water-starving my plants (which they do not like). I have also tried the paper cone trap, the wine trap, the potato in the plants trap and, as mentioned, the high-tech vacuum cleaner trap. If you are similarly besieged and favor home-grown solutions, here’s a handy roundup of gnat, errr, fruit fly traps you can make yourself:

Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Frankly, the best option I have found is not a home-grown trap at all. Although they are marginally effective, the BEST traps are from Gardener’s Supply. They are natural fruit fly traps. You can also buy these lovely, decorator soapstone trap holders that I am sure you will want to keep on view year-round, even after fruit fly season.


Even as I write, I have a glass of wine at my desk. Also on my desk is one of these traps in a lovely soapstone holder. Instead of going for my wine, they are flocking to the trap. Sweet!

So where have I been?

I have been absolutely immersed in home repairs. Now that I can take some time from work to look around the house, I see how much has been neglected. Walter, my handy home repair guy has been here from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for two weeks straight fixing, painting and sprucing things up. You would think I lived in a hovel of desperate proportions with all he has had to do. And when I’m not spotting him on a high ladder, answering questions, peering at paint colors, fetching supplies or doing my own home improvement projects, I have, in fact, been working at my real job.

The guys are going for a college visit to Harry’s alma mater, The Citadel, this weekend, so for me this weekend is garden cleanup time. I might finally get those bulbs in the ground too.


Posted In: Nature and Wildlife

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