Sunday, June 08, 2014

Jungle on the Prairie

A week ago yesterday, our daughter was married.  In Florida.  Needless to say, we traveled down there, both to help out ahead of time and to attend the wedding.  Rather than hurry back, we decided to stay a few extra days and relax, which was...relaxing.

There was one big problem with this agenda.  After months of almost no rain, it rained here the day after we left and then again several more times while we were gone.  In fact, we received more rain in the 2 weeks we were gone than we'd received since the start of the new year until the day we left.

Not too surprisingly, then, we came home to a jungle - or as close to a jungle as it gets on the Kansas prairie.

Including the driveway, the only area that didn't look overgrown was the buffalo grass!  (Have I told you recently how much I'm coming to enjoy buffalo grass?!)

The vegetable garden looked particularly disastrous - the spinach, lettuce and many of the broccoli and cauliflower plants had bolted and the weeds had literally appeared as if by magic.  Pigweed - which I hadn't even noticed germinating before we left - was over a foot tall.  Crabgrass - which had barely started to germinate - was a 4" tall carpet of green in areas.

So we started working yesterday morning.  Greg put in about 8 hours of weeding and mulching (for the second time this spring) in the vegetable garden.  I put in about 3 hours of vegetable garden weeding, then a couple more hours, off and on, weeding in the flower gardens and lawn.  After he got too tired to weed any more, Greg mowed.

Things are looking a little better, but far from where we want them yet.

Meanwhile, we discovered that we'd had a MAJOR hatch of grasshoppers while we were gone.  There are grasshopper nymphs everywhere.

This little merry band was on one of the older cauliflower leaves....

...while this more mixed assortment was brazenly staking out one of the broccoli plants.

But wait!  One of those isn't a grasshopper!

Good eyes.  It's not a grasshopper, it's a wheel bug nymph.  With a grasshopper meal on its mind!

The wheel bug nymphs are everywhere and, much to my delight, I found a couple of them snacking on baby grasshoppers.

This one was on lamb's quarters in the vegetable garden,...

...while this one was hiding under a Jerusalem artichoke leaf.

Obviously even an army of wheel bugs won't be able to handle the hordes of grasshopper nymphs that we are currently hosting.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that continued wet and cool will help with that problem, but meanwhile the wheel bugs are giving me great pleasure as I notice them skulking throughout the yard.   Terminators, baby!


Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Glad you're getting some help with the grasshoppers. We weren't gone as long as you but that rain did wonders for everything--weeds included. This week's plan is to tidy everything up a little each day. More rain in our forecast. I'm completely fine with that. Have fun weeding!!!

Gaia Gardener: said...

Sounds like our week's activities will be rather similar! You have fun weeding too!