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But, the good news is that the deer have been kept out by the partially finished fence. Most importantly, we have been enjoying lots of produce! Eggplant and broccoli have done better than I could have ever imagined. Perhaps due to the mild summer here in the mid-atlantic region?
We still need to add more cypress beds and finish the fence (and gates).
I did a quasi-scientific test this year with my eggplant. I split up a six pack of plants and planted some of them with black plastic mulch and some of them without. The differences between them are remarkable: the plants that had plastic mulch are about 50% larger (taller & wider, with bigger leaves) and have given me more fruit to harvest. I was able to harvest much sooner (and thus able to enjoy more Szechuan eggplant and baba ghanoush .
Of course, this isn’t really a scientific test. The plants are in different garden beds, and various things could be different such as the soil, the sunlight, the watering, and the amount of attention I’ve given them. They also have different neighbors (peppers vs. cucumbers & broccoli). And I only tried it with the globe-type eggplant (I didn’t split up the ichiban). But, it does seem promising, doesn’t it?
Parents who go out of town and leave their teens behind should expect that unsavory things (from the parents’ perspective) are likely to transpire in their absence. We have no children, never mind teens, and therefore were shocked to come home to an orgy. A japanese beetle orgy. Sure, there were a few meandering about when we left, but they seemed innocent enough. How stupidly naive!
There is not much that can be done to combat this pest, given that there are no natural predators in the US. Except to grab them with your fingers and crush the life out of them.
I know what you are thinking. The poor beetles! What a severe sentence! She’s an overzealous prosecutor! This isn’t fair! But I will not bow to the political pressure from the right. I will not pardon them. Nor will I commute the sentence (and then sneak in an inevitable pardon later). No, guilt is guilt. The sentence stands.
Some might say this was entrapment. It is true, borage can be used as a “trap plant” to attract japanese beetles so that you can collectively do away with them. Too bad, I say. They still chose to eat in my garden, and now they have to pay for it. Even if they are rich (which of course they aren’t), and even if they have a friend who lives in a white house (which they might). Justice may be obstructed in Washington, but not in my back yard.