Friday, May 18, 2012

Scouting as Meditation

Day 119
The Daily DuBrule

It takes a lot to slow me down at this time of year. I sit for a nanosecond and I pop up again. So much to do, so little time. So when I finally go out into my own garden and start scouting for insects to "head 'em off at the pass" so to speak, I find myself still. Totally quiet and focused. Something that is often foreign to me.

Scouting for insects daily, or even twice a day as in every morning and every night, is the number one technique I use to control pests using organic methods. If you spot the first couple of red lily leaf beetles in the early spring and then look under the leaves for their eggs and rub them off, you have just swiped away the next generation of this nasty pest. Then you KNOW they have arrived and you can keep your eye on the plants and squish them as they show up- or spray them with an organic spray such as Neem if you are "squishing sqeemish".

I realized just how relaxing scouting was the other day. I was sitting on my wall thinking really hard about the talk I had to give to The Connecticut Horticultural Society about sustainable solutions to garden pests. I didn't want to just go on and on about this spray for that. I wanted to go a little deeper. I decided to update a four page handout out the specific pests and their controls and focus in my talk on scouting, knowing your enemy, and making the plant as healthy as possible so it could resist and survive attacks. So as I sat there on the wall I stared for a good 15 minutes at my gorgeous asparagus ferns, now nearly 6 feet tall, looking for the tiny asparagus beetles. I got up and walked very slowly around the 12' long by 3' wide raised bed and inspected every square inch of the asparagus. All told I found 5 beetles. But it slowed me right down and made me really notice how the flowers were forming and how some of the stems were twisted and branched and that there were tiny little bees that were flitting about. Scouting is a gardener's way of being totally present in the moment. 

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