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Insect Warfare & Gardening

My gardening thus far hasn’t been overly successful. My overzealous drip irrigation coordinator over-watered my garden (really just a modest flowerbed) at the beginning, which meant my whole first crop of carrots didn’t sprout. I only got two heads of lettuce of a whole row I planted, presumably because there wasn’t enough sunlight reaching that corner of the bed each day early on and then because it was too hot, or something along those lines. I tried to grow cucumber plants without a trellis, but today I gave up and started training them up a hastily/lazily constructed trellis-contraption. (I had to go to Home Depot and Co-op to find everything I needed. I hate Home Depot because it has too much stuff and everything’s all over the place. I feel almost panicky in there. Ah, consumerism, big box stores, economies of scale, love it, love it, love it. Both stores are frequently sold out of what I need and short on staff that will actually approach you if you’re looking lost (or terrified, as in my case).) The cucumbers were pretty well out of control at this point, with vines going everywhere and not a lot of actual cucumbers being produced. I’d read something about pruning, but many people apparently don’t. I did some pruning where it seemed the least painful option for me, if not for the plant. I’d also looked into why the plant might not be producing any cucumbers and found a bit about pollination. But I watched several pollinators help themselves to the flowers and even felt compelled to help out a bee by holding still a vine I’d been working with when the bee landed on it.

And on the subject of insects, I have to (half seriously) ask why PETA or someone like that hasn’t tried to outlaw fly strips. We have a couple at my work place and I try to hit flies with the swatter before they land on the strip because it bothers me to watch them struggling to try to free themselves and then just hanging there with their front legs outstretched or in a position that would be spine-breaking if they, uh, had spines? (I confess I don’t know a whole lot about the anatomy of flies.) Moths also get caught up in the strips sometimes, leaving a trail of dust. I know most people think moths are pretty disgusting, but they’re kind of beautiful with their delicate antennae. It’d probably be easier to get rid of fly strips than to get most people to give up meat. And frankly, insects are a lot more important in the ecological scheme of things than fuzzy, cute mammals. They’re important for breaking down dead plants and animals and pollination. And we kill them all using broad insecticides and pesticides (and fly strips), and then worry later when we seem to be having a problem with the pollinators we need for a huge portion of our food supply. Anyway… Just another day in the life of me.

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