Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Earthbox Update - Week Twelve: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Last week the world looked bright and promising. This week, we're hanging on for dear life. It started out with an Aphid attack. Before this week, Aphids were blissfully unknown to me. Now I loathe and fear them. As to what they are...well, imagine microscopic bugs that arrive en masse, infiltrate your plants, and slowly eat them alive, all the while propagating their own species. And when I say "en masse," I literally mean by the millions. It was disgusting. They were everywhere.

I called my Aunt Joan over at Primex in a panic and she identified these pests by a picture I emailed her. Naturally (pun fully intended), I only wanted to use organic means to get rid of them, so pesticides were out. She recommended 3 teaspoons of dish soap in a gallon of water, which is fabulous and natural. The only catch is this solution has to be sprayed on every single leaf of every single plant. Um...have you SEEN my porch?'s a sizable task. It took me a few hours, but I did managed to douse every single leaf--front AND back.

Only to them have the entirety of my efforts erased by a monsoon of previously unseen proportions (at least in these parts). It rained over 6 inches in under 45 minutes. The rain was going sideways, coming down in sheets, the winds were whipping...and anything caught in it was pretty much doomed. I wasn't even home to try to mitigate the ensuing damage (rookie mistake, I should've staked them long ago). When I finally made it home--past all the stalled cars with their drivers crawling onto the roofs, emergency vehicles, and utterly flooded streets, I saw the damage and almost cried.

I think I've lost a full-grown Earthbox tomato plant, the peppers are looking pretty beat up, the cucs are looking rather battered, and the zucs aren't fruiting. Argh. What next? Locusts? A blight? The plant equivalent of the Plague?

Not a good week for this urban grower.

And what surprised me the most was how upset I was when I saw the damage. I practically fell to my knees, sobbing, "Why? Whhhyyyy??"

On some level, I am aware they're just plants. But after tending them daily for six weeks, I'm fully invested in their success. These little guys had a bright future ahead of them (plant college?) and I am determined to make it happen for them, come...well, hell or high water!

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