Your garden is swelling with produce now. The only lumps in your gravy are those common garden pests that appear with dreary regularity each year. “Know your enemy” said the ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu — so here is a condensed catalogue of those unwelcome guests, and what to do about them.
- Bigfoot. This refers not to the legendary Sasquatch, but to those gangly children employed by their parents and others to weed and water a patch of garden. For every weed they manage to pull, they squash a dozen zucchini blossoms and uproot tomato plants by the carload. Since spraying them with DDT is frowned on in most communities, the next best thing is to cocoon them in bubble wrap; leaving them only their teeth to work with. They can’t do too much damage with their mouths — at least not until they’re teenagers.
- The Know-it-All Neighbor. These irritating creatures make their nests near your home and delight in visiting you during the heat of the day to offer unwanted insights into your gardening skills. They cast doubt on your crop rotation, seed brand, watering technique, and are only too happy to explain in detail why your corn is maggoty and your pepper plants are unproductive. To get rid of them, simply offer them a spade and a cheerful invitation to join you in getting their hands dirty; this will horrify them so much that they will likely flee to their lake or mountain cabin and not be seen again until late autumn.
- Sticky Fingers. These thievish rascals might be relatives, neighbors, or even complete strangers who just happen to be walking by and spot your unattended garden bounty ripe for looting. Without asking, they help themselves to the best of your produce, and, like Bigfoot, they do so without regard to any tender vines, leaves or twigs that get in their way. To discourage their depredations, it is best to manure your garden with something so pungent it will make their eyes water. Try shredded, used disposable diapers; the smell would choke a goat, let alone a cucumber cat burglar.
- Snatchers. This final group of pests is always borrowing your rakes, watering cans, rototillers and other garden paraphernalia just when you need them to attend to your own garden. The most irritating part is that once they borrow an implement, they never actually use it; it just sits in their garage or tool shed, slowly cankering with rust. But ask for it back and they immediately holler that they’re not done with it yet. The best way to deal with these unprincipled parasites is to give them what they want, but on a quid pro quo basis; if they want a rake, you, in turn, borrow their food blender. If they borrow your hedge clippers you, in turn, borrow their propane grill. And so forth. That way you can hold their stuff hostage until you get your stuff back. Machiavelli would highly approve.
Tim grew up in the Midwest. His parents were from Norway. He now lives in Provo, Utah. He has written several novels and biographies He works in social media and is a content provider for the political humor blog http://iwritetheblogggs.com/