It must be July.
This is the month when the Japanese Beetles swarm in, over and under all of my plants and make veritable skeletons where once there was beautiful green.
My Chinese cabbage fell to the Japanese beetles but I am determined NOT to lose the battle over my green beans and my blackberry bushes.
Unfortunately, because the beetles are so bad this year, I have resorted to using my apple tree as a distraction.
And the Japanese beetles are attacking with a vengeance. The leaves are being eaten on every branch. I hate using the tree to attract the beetles but, as an organic gardener, I have to or I wouldn’t have a prayer of holding the line in my garden.
So, how do I kill the ones that make it into the garden and chew through leaves of just about any plant? Well, it isn’t pretty but my method works and it is organic.
Every morning and every evening, I fill a small container with dishwater, grab my big spoon and head out to the garden. I spend about 25 minutes smacking beetles into the bucket.
When I’m done, I usually have between 100 and 150 beetles floating in the water.
Okay is sounds gross and the resulting “bucket of beetles” looks gross but it works. And there is a perverse satisfaction in slapping them into the water, knowing their destructive activities are over.
So, the battle continues and I have good and bad days relative to control but I don’t spray; I don’t give up and I do, eventually beat them back.
And when I am feeling outnumbered or a bit down, I just look out my office door at one of the hundred or more volunteer sunflowers that are in my garden and yard and smile.
And to make you smile, I am sharing a picture of my sister Meg, now known as Commander Colander Head, and I heading out to the blueberry patch to do battle with the vicious and varied invaders we call hornets.
This year I’ve got Bald-faced and European hornets and even hornets that look like bumblebees. And of course, there are honey bees, yellow jackets and genuine bumblebees.
So, when we go out to pick, we “suit up” – Tyvex suits are tucked into socks. Muck shoes are worn and, if it’s really warm, nitrile gloves.
The protective gear really does make it safer to pick. And starting just as the sun cracks over the horizon also helps.
I’ve gotten about 85 quarts of blueberries this year and not one bite or one “fatality”, either human or bee!