This week has been one of those busy weeks that involved moms brag about. Turns out I had an event at my son's school every single day this week. From volunteering at the book fair to going into the classroom and making sugar-cone cornucopias with the kindergarteners, it's just been a crazy-busy week. Because I had such a busy week I didn't get a chance to go out to the garden all week, but the weather has been mild and it appeared green and lush from a distance so I knew all was well.
I went to the grocery store and bought some Swiss cheese, mushrooms and some ready-made crust to make my Swiss Chard and mushroom quiche. I've got a ton of eggs in the fridge and I thought it would be a wonderful brunch this weekend. I went out into the garden today to harvest the final ingredient and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the Swiss Chard.
Total and complete carnage.
I checked the plants the other day when I saw holes in them and didn't see any bugs on them. I looked under the leaves and on the stalk and figured it was some random caterpillar who had gone on his way. Apparently I need to bring my reading glasses out to the garden.
Today I didn't need my glasses, obviously.
I have never seen so many creepy-crawly beasties on one square foot of greenery in my entire life. After my initial shock and disgust and a not-so-pleasant temper tantrum as visions of my Swiss chard and mushroom quiche faded quickly, I grabbed a bucket and started ripping off leaves that were heavy with these nasty-looking caterpillar things and stuffing them in the bucket.
When I was done, I didn't have any plants left. Nothing was worth saving because the leaves had more holes than green and more bug poop than I cared to wash off. I assume I need to pull these plants and discard them. Luckily I have a couple of Swiss chard plants in the other box that seem to be bug-free…so far. I think I'll spray them with BT tomorrow just to be on the safe side.
I figured the way to make me feel better about this was to dump the buggy chard in the chicken run and let them slaughter the little buggers and eat the holey leaves. My youngest son and I dumped two bucketfuls of Swiss chard and caterpillars into the run and the chickens went to town. Poor Clementine missed out on the feast because she was busy laying an egg. Maggie and Sookie don't believe in waiting and politeness and left her with nothing by the time she waddled out.
Later on in the afternoon I found three of the bugs on my radish greens so I pulled the remaining radishes, that were overdue anyway, and gave the radish greens to Clementine who was finished with her egg and indignantly waiting for her buggy treat.
I looked up the bugs in my organic gardening book and they might be Fall armyworms. Shudder. I'm not down with bugs and any kind of worm gives me the creeps. Wouldn't you know they show up and eat my chard the ONE week I left the garden alone?
So apparently my Swiss Chard tasted great…or so the chickens and caterpillars lead me to believe.