Although many things have changed in our life since our move to Texas, one which never will, is my love of gardening. After all the insanity of the past two months, getting back into the soil was a constant thought on my mind. It does something to my psyche. It gives me back much more than I ever put into it.
So while all the craziness was going on with the move, I planned gardens; lavishly green with beautifully shaded meandering paths through wooden and iron trellises, arches, and Gazebos, and me sitting amongst all this grandeur in the grass with a glass of vine or a Sam Adams! Something out of a Beverley Nichols novel.
What was not in this garden fantasy were Chiggers!
Have you heard of them?
Well, if you have never lived in Texas then let me tell you about these little critters called Chiggers. They are tiny little red mites that are practically unseen. They climb onto your clothes while you are outside thinning your Chard,
watering your Fig,
or photographing you red peppers;
or your collards,
and then they find an area to bite, eat, and picnic at. Once you scratch or wash the affected area, they are sloughed off, but the damage that they do is quite visible and
After having been bit about 50 times during my first gardening attempt, I immediately contacted a neighbor who told me that the little critter was now living within my skin, which totally freaked me out. Needless to say, after a little Google festival, I found out that they were not "inside" me. However, the hormones that destroy and irritate the skin were still there, and that was what was driving me crazy. Having 50 Chigger bites all over your body, where no one, much less a little mite should have full access to, sent me into massive overload.
Gone now, were the peaceful gardens, the Gazebos, and the Sam Adams.
I realized that all my gardening would have to be put on hold until these little pests were sent packing. I am an organic gardener, and believe that we should tread as lightly on this earth as possible. However, after trying everything from Diatomaceous Earth, to sprays, only to end up with MORE Chigger bites, ( and Wolf spider bites, but that's a whole other post), I gave in to the scratching. I called the local exterminator and had them spray their greenest spray to get rid of them.
Finally, one month later, my garden is beginning to take shape. My mother and her tiller have done wonders for the fence edge. Thanks Mom!
I have finally got some vegetables and trees in. Starting at the far left, we have two rows of red/green peppers, basil, chard, my lone tomato plant, asparagus beans, mixed mesclun greens, another asparagus bean....and then the nursery where a variety of babies are just starting off, as I got a late start due to the move. In that far right you can just make out the fig tree that moved with us from up north. It was packed away within a box, in the moving company's storage facility for over a week and a half. Along with about 10 of my favorite African violets. Sealed shut, from all light and water. It was mid spring when we moved to Texas, and the fig had just started to leaf, and the African violets were in full bloom. So I had concerns on whether they would make it or not. I gave most of my big plants away to my friends and neighbors, but this lone scattering of green, I could not bear to part with. To my great surprise, they did well. The leaves on the fig (Brown Turkey) had all turned white.
The African violets..........
Another new addition to the backyard is the Meyer Lemon tree.
No matter how small, the harvest brings you so much more than just something to put on your table to eat.