Of all the things I thought I knew about myself, my getting offended by caterpillars on the beetroot seedlings I placed in recycled buckets of honey is a revelation to me. Note that I didn’t call them “honey buckets” lest you mistake one of my and a lot of people’s hobbies for a gardening fetish. I see these little green things crawl along the rib of the biggest green leaf on this baby plant and I think “you piece of shit”. Ironically. All of these emotions come as a huge surprise to me. I am the type of woman that considers herself a nature warrior deep in my heart. I get giddy over leaves and patterns I see on hikes. I eat all my vegetables happily and ask for seconds. Cursing at camouflaged bugs – I am learning a new side of me.
It takes a second to step back from the expectations I have as a gardener. I call myself one but with humility because as many online forums as I’ve scoured, I still can’t make the squirrels not dig plants out of the ground twice a year. They have to eat. And avoid getting hit by cars! I just have to pretend I know what I’m doing and then walk to a grocery store if it doesn’t work out.
As prime gardening season comes to a close, I’d like to tell you that I have a whole new bunch of tricks up my sleeve this time. A favourite motto has always been along the lines of “live and let live”. I put seeds in the well-fed ground, feed the plants that come out of them and hope for the best. There is always so much to learn. So I went out with a small piece of paper and lifted the miniscule caterpillar off the tiny little leaves. I covered the seedlings with one-pint containers that held cherry tomatoes not so long ago. Dig around squirrels. The course nature takes through us and all of its little ones is a lesson in patience. The beets are doing fine. It’s my dogs that are now eating the carrots.