“Gardening is a kind of disease.  It infects you, you cannot escape it.  When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden; you interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of an irresistible impulse to get up and pull a weed.”  ~Lewis Gannit
This is so very true.  This past weekend my MIL came for a visit which allowed me to knock off early from my planned garden chores on Saturday as my parents were also joining us for dinner.  The whole time we were sitting on the deck having dinner I could hear the weeds growing in the ornamental bed behind me, and had to resist the urge to jump up and go weed.  I take orderly, tidy gardening to new heights.  My thought is, why should the weeds reap the benefits of proper watering and fertilization?

It is utterly forbidden to be half-hearted about gardening.  You have got to love your garden whether you like it or not.  ~W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman, Garden Rubbish, 1936
Last night I worked outside in the garden until 8:45 PM weeding, defoliating the bean plants that have been attacked by bugs, and spraying neem oil to try and save the plants.  This year has been particularly brutal for all sorts of bugs (especially ticks; we pull one off one or the other of us nearly every time we come into the house) and they have been munching heavily on our eggplants, peppers and especially beans.  But only in the main garden; the beans in the back 40 appear to have escaped almost unscathed.  Still, we want beans, and in an old edition of Organic Gardening magazine I found references to using neem oil as an organic pesticide.  Neem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of the neem, an evergreen tree found originally on the Indian subcontinent and now in many other parts of the tropics.  I have had some success with bug prevention with my lillies by using cayenne pepper spray, but those bugs are red lilly leaf beetles, which are altogether different foliage-destroyers:
Moments before death
I have to be vigilant, though.  I usually hand-remove and crush them and then spray down the plants once I think I’ve removed them all, but there are often more tiny holes in the lilly leaves a few days later, and the cycle repeats.  I think we’ll be on the same path with the beans, if we even get any beans this year.  Fortunately the peas appear to have no infestations whatsoever, meaning we could have a bumper crop and I am really going to need to start researching chest freezers.

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