Organic Gardening ‘a-la-Jody’

I’ve become worried about the state of the soil on planet Earth and hesitant about even walking barefoot on our own lawn anymore with all the chemicals we use to keep our lawns and flower beds looking nice.

Last summer our marigolds and salvia were chewed down to nubs two weeks out of the greenhouse. I did this online search for organic treatments to control bugs and came up with the idea of Borax. You know, the 20-mule-team Borax at the grocery store. Borax has one ingredient, and it’s a mineral. Super! After I got home with it I thought I should go back and research the uses for Borax again. Except this time, I couldn’t find the same site I read the first time – or thought I had read and understood. This time I read that Borax is toxic to pets, and is used to control ants in the house. You mix it with granulated sugar and spread it where the ants are marching – they carry the contaminated sugar back to their nest, that is, if they make it back to the nest before the borax burns their legs off. I dunno. Borax is good for laundry, I guess.

So this year I planted the marigolds and salvia again. AND got rid of the slugs with chemical granules you spread around plants that is supposed to be safe for birds and pets. (Sorry, Earth). I did this because I have already learned that slugs are capable of devouring entire flower beds, and besides, they’re gross:

"Oh joy."

“Oh joy.”

We scooped a bunch of slugs off of our front walk into a dish. And I took a picture. I don’t know why. I guess so we could scrape them off the dish several days later – dried up and dead. “Thanks for sharing, Jody.” You’re welcome.

So, this year, with the help of our slug bait, our salvia and marigolds started out just fine. Uh, until I stopped paying attention while the salvia leaves were being devoured:


Ahhhhhh. It’s gotta be earwigs!! (I surmised, after spotting an earwig crawling in the garden just inches away.) And like the good Earth-loving citizen I have vowed to be, I marched right down to our local greenhouse and purchased this nifty Earth-friendly way to rid your garden of earwigs:

What a bargain!

What a bargain!

For six bucks! Uh, seven bucks. Plus tax. A package of four petri dishes with lids. The lids have small holes in them. You put soapy water in the bottom of the dish, flavor with vanilla. Place by the affected plants. Voila! The earwigs smell the vanilla, crawl in the holes on top and drown in the soapy liquid! Perfect! (I hate earwigs.)

So I set all four of them up this past Friday evening, next to the eaten plants, imagining, what if I caught say, 50 earwigs?

You're gonna die, earwigs!

You’re gonna die, earwigs!

First thing Saturday morning – I thought of those traps! Check them out. I walked out in our garden with my jammies on, still half awake. Peered down to look at the first trap. OMG! I’ve caught a Godzilla earwig! (Creepy, huh?)

That nasty sucker has had his last feast!

That nasty sucker has had his last feast!

He’s HUGE! Smart too. Onto the trick! He had crawled in a hole on top, and was clinging to the underside of the lid to avoid drowning. Of course he’s huge. He’s been feasting on the salvia for days.

I checked another trap. Wow! Another gargantuan earwig clinging to the underside of the lid!

Gotcha Big Guy! Ha!

Gotcha Big Guy! Ha!

But wait a minute. This is getting scary. If I remove the lids the monster earwigs will spring out and scurry right up my arm or something. I just can’t deal with this.

I went to find David. “Honey, I have a favor to ask. There are some creepy gigantic earwigs clinging to the lids on those traps. Looks like a manly-man job to me. Could you please, please be a darling and dispose of them for me?”

I watched from the upstairs bathroom as David went out to deal with those traps. A few minutes later I casually approached him in the kitchen. “Honey, how’d it go?”

“Jody, those earwigs were painted on the lids! How could you not notice when you put the traps together in the first place?”

Huh? I dunno. Maybe I did notice, but I forgot! I was just too creeped out.”

Well, turns out, all four traps had caught nothing. And if you think about it, if you were a hungry earwig, which would you gravitate to? A fat juicy salvia leaf or a vanilla scented soapy petri dish? Well, maybe the petri dish after you’ve devoured all the salvia.

I checked the traps again today. Had caught three (innocent?) black beetles. Awwwww. Dang! I like beetles. Don’t see many these days.

One of my friends suggested baking soda as a pest deterrent.

David’s suggestion: Take a Zen approach to gardening. Be the bug. Think of what a bug’s Paradise our gardens are…

And there you go. My personal organic gardening advice?

Uh … Don’t plant salvia?

(Oh, and have you checked out my previous gardening blogs written over the past few summers? Treasure trove of gardening tips, there, let me tell you…)

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