Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gardening Envy

The boys picked me up at my house so we could take all three dogs to No Name Key for a sunny afternoon walk. Chuck patiently followed this elderly Vespa at 35mph on the Overseas Highway. I have seen the Vespa parked at Big Pine and spoken to the owner who uses it regularly, though this was the first time I'd followed him. I admired his devil-may-care ability to enjoy the ride at ten miles an hour under the speed limit. When I tried to ride a ghastly slow Stella 150 I was always pulling onto the shoulder to let traffic go by. We got to No Name in the end and met the local inhabitants:And we took a very pleasant walk which quite tired out the Vizlas, Zuzu and Tootie.
Cheyenne sprawled in the back behind Wayne and chewed on her host's rawhide. She likes to make the point that she feels like she is the alpha dog around here. It was a glorious sunny day,a fine time to be out and about and i was grateful to Wayne and Chuck for dragging me out into it. This is the bridge connecting No Name to Bog Pine over Bogie Channel.Soon enough we were back home watching other hardier souls take to the water on a windy day.My vegetable patch got the third degree from Wayne and Chuck. We introduced them to Earthboxes and now they are experts and wanted to see what kind of cock-ups we'd made. My big issue once again is iguana attacks on my vegetables and those dinosaurs are starting to piss me off big time. They climb everything, chew everything down to a nub and they run at the merest hint of trouble. I've tried stalking them and I've managed to shoot two with my air gun but one is only allowed to shoot on one's own property and I desperately afraid of shooting across the canal, which fear crimps my style. besides I'd rather they just stayed away and minded their own business elsewhere. The problem is they have no natural predators and they lay eggs as copiously as ants.This is my third attempt this winter and so far, touch wood the plants seem to be growing unmolested. Wayne and Chuck haven't yet exposed their boxes to the iguanas that cross their lawn but when the brutes discover their plants they too will be at risk. At the moment the boys are being rather smug...Better living through chemistry is my philosophy and I have been trying anti iguana sprays for my plants. The best we have used is called Iguana Rid but it is horribly expensive, 20 dollars a quart so we tried a new local formula. It's said to discourage iguana from crossing anything it covers but it never worked for us. That was two crops of plants that got et. #$%@&! Lisa told me about a home made concoction she has used to great effect.The formula is simple enough, a dose of garlic powder, Neem oil and off you go. In consultation with my wife we decided to add cayenne pepper to the mixture to give the bastards something else to think about. My wife is fussy about the proportions (which I can't precisely remember) but we let the pepper and garlic sit in the water for a while to infuse it properly. I pour a generous dollop of Neem oil into the sprayer and then using paper towels to filter the mixture I pour it through a funnel. This whole bottle of Neem oil which should be good for half a dozen bottles of spray costs just eight dollars at Home Depot.It smells ghastly, like decayed dog piss but at these prices i can spray stuff to my heart's content.And so far my plants remain uneaten...The broccoli and pepper are flourishing......and the lettuce is a favorite meal of the wretched iguanas.I'm hoping there's shade enough so that the lettuce won't get bitter.I wanted to re-use a dangling Topsy Turvy but unfortunately the plastic had become rather thin and weak. I had a tomato plant I needed to find a home for, so I wrapped the container in a plastic soil bag, added some gorilla tape and called it done. Ugly but functional. The boys were polite enough not to comment on it's appearance.However Chuck couldn't help but gloat. After they got home I received an e-mail titled simply "We have a tomato!" And so they do as evidenced by the attached photo:I will too, one day......if only I can keep the damned iguana away.Irony of ironies, Chuck asked if he could please borrow my container to spray his plants down "just in case." That made me feel better.