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A Lesson I Shan’t Soon Forget

Anybody else out there starting a fall/winter garden? I am beginning my first cold-weather garden in I think three years.

My very first cold-weather garden on our rural property.

Where grasshoppers are everywhere until we have our first frost.

In Plano, I would maybe see two grasshoppers a summer – and I may be exaggerating, but I saw them so infrequently I hardly ever thought about them. But since we don’t yet have chickens, we have all sorts of grasshoppers on the homestead.

I knew I was taking a risk in not covering my newly-emerged plants. I had even not mulched the bed to keep pill beetles from being tempted to lurk there and eat the seedlings as soon as they came up (which happened to me one spring with lettuce). I don’t know what I was thinking.

Yes, I do. I was thinking that I was going to have to water the four-by-ten foot bed at least twice a day until most of the seeds came up, and that I didn’t want to have to deal with moving, then setting back into place, a row cover every time.

I did cover the buried Smart Pots into which I’d planted broccoli and kale.

sept15bbb_with_brocc

But, look at this:

nogreensinbed

Out of forty baby lettuce plants I should have had by now, I have six. I reseeded them and have had a whopping two or three that have come up.

All of my kale had germinated, as well as most of my kohlrabi. I now have none of each.

I have only half the Swiss chard I planted.

*Sigh.*

Of course, it’s not purely the fault of the grasshoppers. Some of the seeds undoubtedly dried up because when temperatures persist on being near ninety degrees, it’s hard to keep the soil moist! Then again, having a row cover over the bed would have helped. I take full responsibility.

I am determined to have a winter greens garden this year, and so planted all the seeds (and then some) that either didn’t come up or were eaten in a seed sprouting tray. I will transplant them while they’re still relatively young to prevent transplant shock; however, this time I am going to suck it up and put row cover down.

So there, evil grasshoppers! Your babies will be chicken food next year, heh-heh-heh.

 

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