I saw the harlequin beetles starting months ago. An abandoned plot there with an overgrown radish. Another ignored plot that way with some once-beautiful brassica. I sprayed them with the hose.
They didn’t bat an eye. Or a wing, either, seeing as I’m not sure if they have eyelids.
Eventually the left-alone plots were cleared out or cleaned up. Eventually the beetles were repeatedly carried with the best of delayed intentions to the compost box.
Eventually they went looking for fresher, living, brassicas.
Like my kale. I didn’t count the squirts and squishes today as I ended each beetle‘s attempted relocation plan. I did count the bucketfuls of kale lost to them (2.)
I took these Brussels home and we processed them in the front yard. I’m not sure how far they can fly in search of food, or how many stowaways I had left after the clear and present danger of my thumbs, but processing the trees in the front yard at least gave my back yard a chance to avoid transference.
Until next year, Harlequin. Or perhaps you don’t populate where I’ll be in a year’s time and whatever I’ve encountered will make me miss you. As you are, at least, kind enough to be easily spotted.
The most rare helper of mine thought to play in the water she had asked to put on the peas. Soaked and turning hues of blues, we packed up our tools, turned off the hoses, and…
Ack! What is wrong with my cabbage?! What on earth is happening to that leaf in the middle? From farther away I’d seen the dark spots and thought the harlequin beetles were back. A little closer and no…
Tis the season for growing compost piles, for weeding unwanted seeds from the stockpile, for starting a wishlist for next year and reflecting on the season’s passing.
I think it may be the last year for the raised beds. And I think I’ll help them go. They harbor ants nests I can’t beat back or cajole away. They permit sweet potatoes to bunker under the walls, lessening the harvest and sowing the next generation of ground cover in the same allowance.
But to do so would require remapping the irrigation installed by our predecessors. And that is not in the time budget between now and the early sowings of spring when we’ll try for more peas and beans and carrots and things.
So perhaps another year, I’ll eke out of these tiring lengths, and perhaps next winter we’ll be moving, or the kids will be old enough to require less of my ship’s side to barnacle upon which will both ease and sadden my heart, and also increase the time budget a smidge, methinks. We shall see.
So the beds will rest, the compost will grow, and the caterpillars will continue to feast like royalty upon my cauliflower dreams.