Thursday, May 6, 2010

legless lizards sighted in the 'cukes & beans' bed

All has not been well in my tiny Cukes and Beans bed. This morning, the once-promising six-by-one foot space sported nothing but two flourishing nasturtiums (transplanted from the herb garden) and two scarlet runner bean plants (seed saved from last summer's late crop)., plus two severely slug-damaged seedlings of heirloom pole beans ('rattlesnake' variety) and one struggling seedling of Armenian cucumber.

Imagine laboriously removing a seedling palm tree and a thick stand of Confederate Jasmine, plus laying down all that wet cardboard and mulch for this pathetic result!

I decided to dig up the entire space (minus the aforementioned seven plants) and start over again with slug control based on copper scouring pads (see snails and slugs, part 2). Upon peeping under a thick layer of the original cardboard, I saw a family of two or three legless lizards and knew that I was getting some reptilian support. That was on April 17, when I started and abandoned this sad narrative. (Thanks be to Google Blogger for keeping track of my fits and starts!)

Two days after spotting the legless lizards and making a meticulous copper mesh installation to protect the cukes and beans, I started the Weetabix offensive described in snails and slugs, part 1. A number of slugs were destroyed before victory was declared in that phase of the land mollusk war, as I will reveal in the forthcoming snails and slugs, part 3.

Today is May 6, and the cukes and beans bed is totally cuke-less though one of the rattlesnake bean seedlings has made an excellent recovery. One of the scarlet runner beans and both nasturtiums are starting to climb the wire mesh. Two varieties of cucumbers and two herbs (summer savory, dill) have been planted from seed directly in the ground but have failed to emerge.

Yesterday, I planted seeds of Armenian cucumber, summer savory, and dill in jiffy pots destined for transplanting into the cukes and beans bed. Hope springs eternal. Seeds of basil (two varieties), marigolds (two varieties), yellow crookneck squash, pumpkin, and Swiss chard also went into jiffy pots with other destinations.

There will be green beans galore this summer, with at least ten vines of three or four varieties, and cucumbers may very well flourish on the south or north fence.

Two Williams merge for me in the magic of growth and rainwater. So much depends upon the darling buds of May.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License