Friday, June 22, 2012

Grasshopper Plague

Golden Grasshopper

Even when struck by a plague of almost "biblical proportions" there are amazing things to see.  The garden is on the backside of a large pasture and the dry weather here has dried the grass.  Apparently this leaves  thousands of grasshoppers searching for a home.  The amazing part is the sheer variety of their appearance.  They are mostly either gold, green, brown or gray.  But they come in many different models and sizes.

Some are alien looking like the golden one.  The one that calmly sat on my arm while I took numerous pictures looks like a cartoon character with its staring round eye.  There are large beige and gray ones that are rather paleolithic, and there are some camouflage ones that look like army vehicles.  And they have all converged on the garden.  The green beans were their first choice.  Now they are
Obliging Grasshopper Model
munching on the tomatoes and I caught them eating lemongrass.  They may be eating the rhubarb leaves and those are supposed to be poisonous. I really don't see a ready deterrent for a bug that eats lemongrass or rhubarb.

My only plan at the moment is to put a birdbath near the bamboo and see if I can't entice the bluebirds, flycatchers, and buntings to do a better job.

Years ago a friend covered her tables at her wedding reception with pastel net over white cloths.  Afterwards, she gave me yards and yards of net.  If I had all that netting today I would cover the garden beds with it.

Melon plant courtesy FrankenFather
The melon plant was courtesy of friend Steve, the father of our grafted "FrankenTomato".  Frankenmato is doing fine and growing an attractive crop.  Steve also pitched in a pepper and a melon.  It looks like a Sugar Baby type, I don't remember.  According to my best guess it should be ripe.  The two tiny tendrils above the stem of the melon are brown and dry and the underside is a creamy yellow, but it doesn't thump well.  Maybe because it is smallish.  It is nerve wracking to decide when to cut it.  There are only two, this one and a smaller one of this type, so we only have these two shots to get it right.  I guess the best strategy is cut the small one and if it is unripe then assume the large one isn't ripe yet.

Red Flame Seedless Grape

The last photo shows the growth of our Red Flame Seedless Grape.  I am astounded by the length of the vine in just one growing season, about twelve feet so far.  When I planted it this spring the above ground vine was about eight or ten inches.  It has grown this much in about three months.  This is my first experience growing grapes and I am amazed at how well all of the vines have grown.  I will need some study trellises next year.

Pillaging grasshoppers, exuberant grapes and mysterious melons.  It is hard to be bored in the garden.  Voltaire was right to remind us to tend our gardens but he didn't give credit where credit was due, good gardens owe something to God's handiwork.

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