Casualties this Spring

Just got back from a recon of the Patch, and things are definitely not looking good. Downright bad, actually. I don’t think I’ve had this hard a gardening season… well, ever.

Plant casualties so far this Spring at the Patch:

Weather (death by drowning):

  • Tomatoes (10 of 20)
  • Shallots (10 of 10)
  • Sage plant (1, 2 years old)

Pests:

  • Delicata vining squash: 5 of 8. Stems severed – not eaten – just above ground level. Plants left to die.
  • Corn: 20 of 24. I keep planting, the squirrels keep diggin’ them up.
  • Beets: 32 of 32. Eaten down to ground level on two successive days.

Mortally wounded and not long for this earth:

  • Asparagus: 20 of 20. The asparagus beetles were horrible enough last year that many of them had trouble coming back this year. Now this year they are especially horrendous and no organic spray seems to keep them away. Of course the constant rain doesn’t help.
  • Cabbage: 6 of 6. Slugs?
  • Lettuce: 4 of 4. Slugs again, probably.
  • Pepper plants: 8 of 8. Full of holes. Caterpillars?
  • Tomatoes: the remaining 10. I’m guessing they didn’t like the last few cold nights.
  • Cucumbers: 2 of 6. Ditto on the cold weather.

Needless to say I am NOT the happiest gardener right now. I kind of feel like a downright failure, actually (and it’s not helped by looking down the row at my non-organic neighbor whose crops are doing just fine). When I think about all the time I spent nurturing these plants, bathing them in light all day long, growing them up nice and healthy and big so I could plant them out and just to have some beast happen along and KILL them the next day?! It really makes me want to give up gardening.

Or magically get an $800 grant to build raised beds and fill them up brimming with compost. Then I wouldn’t have to deal with clay soil that is always like a stubborn, saturated sponge in the spring and a brick in the summer, no matter how many loads of leaf mulch and compost I’ve worked into it over the past year and a half.

And I could start waging chemical warfare too. I bet that would be great during pregnancy.

To close on an upnote:
Plants flourishing:

  • Strawberries. 20 of 30. I planted crowns and some of them sprouted and then died, but that might have been my own fault for applying manure that may not have been completely cured.
  • Rasberries: about 30.
  • Onions: maybe a million.
  • Garlic: 9.

I’m glad we’re not pioneers depending on me for food, because I don’t really think there are many main dishes that call for rasberries ala garlic.

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