Well it's about time my garden was invaded by unnamed and unknown beasties hell-bent on crushing my gardening bravado yet again. It started with a teeny-tiny tomato hornworm a few weeks ago, but I knew that meant it was time to whip out my BT and put the beat-down on them. It was my own fault for feeling so confident in my killing abilities.
Because not soon after I noticed that my will-never-be-edible-since-they-bolted-instantly-due-to-heat cauliflower and broccoli plants were holey as could be. I searched the plants and under a few of the leaves I found tiny green wormy bugs. Shudder. I hate that I have a bit of a bug phobia, but worms are the worst thanks to too many TLC specials about humans as parasitic hosts (Farmer B won't let me watch those shows anymore, which is irrelevant since I scream when I even see the previews). I decided to spray the BT again since these appeared caterpillar-like and BT is the caterpillar kill-all in my books.
Again, feeling like a cocky killing machine.
Then dammit if I didn't go out there and notice my Swiss Chard had turned to Swiss Cheese AGAIN! This happened before in the garden and last time the culprit was armyworms (or so my gardening blogger friends told me). This time I didn't see any worms, but I suppose they could have been hiding. I am not sure how to go about killing them, so each day I have more holes and less chard.
And let's not forget the red ants that killed my green peas, but that's in the past.
Then a couple of days ago I'm out in the garden with that older boy of mine and we're harvesting some green beans for dinner when he starts eyeing up my potato plants and asking me when we can eat the potatoes. I told him I think the leaves start to yellow or something when the potatoes are ready. He said "Well I hope we get to eat them before all these bugs do"
WHAT? And there on the leaves of my potato plants were all of these orange leggy insects just making themselves at home. I did what I always do when I encounter a new bug - get a big case of the willies, then run inside and open up my Organic Pest Control book and try to identify the bug. The best part about that experience is that the gross-out factor of turning page after page of wriggly vile bugs is off the charts and I have yet to identify one bug from the book. This is confounded by the fact that bugs mutate constantly - you have to look at the egg, larvae, juvenile and adult photos for each and every writhing multi-legged creature. And this time was no different - nothing in there looked like these bugs.
So I was left wondering - should I kill them? Are they good bugs? Are they evil bugs? How do I kill them? So I found a bottle of Garden Safe Fruit and Vegetable insect killer spray that I've had for a couple of years and never used and went running out to the garden with it. It says "kills instantly" on the label, so I figured I'd use it and hope these weren't good bugs. I sprayed every last one of them and nothing happened. They even looked angrier and stronger an hour or so later. So if they were good bugs, I did them no harm. If they were bad bugs, I'm screwed.
Apparently I am not prepared for the invasion. I'm taking a big, fat mental note of this.