Compost and CSA #3

We missed CSA #2 because we were in Idaho and Montana.  Which is where I wish I was right now anyway.  It is so nice to get out of NYC for a few weeks.  When you live in a concrete world, it is easy to forget how captivating nature is.  Nothing compares to walking around barefoot in soil and grass and taking in a deep breath and smelling wild flowers.  I will post pictures.  But first....

We are guesstimating 20lbs again.  I still haven't bought a scale.

This week's CSA contained tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, kale, chard, beets, red leaf lettuce, a salad mix, onions, fennel bulb and greens, peaches and a gorgeous bouquet of wild flowers.

We're going to make a sausage, kale and zucchini paella today.  I'll let you know how it turns out.


I found this

On my way home from work tonight.

I had no idea NYC had caterpillars this big.  I think it is a tomato horn worm.


Tomatoes don't stand a chance against this guy.


Do you know how much I hate aphids?

A lot.  I hate them a lot. 

I really want to be a bit of a farmer within the next few years.  So I am trying to learn that plants will die.  There will be bugs.  Weather will be bad.  And I will not be able to save every plant or animal that I am taking care of.  That is life.

Sounds a little dramatic no?  After all, I am raising an herb garden in an apartment in NY.  Not life or death here.  The subway is more life or death than that.  And I have great success using the subway.

However, this bites in a sensitive place.

7 or so years ago, I bought my first herb plant.  It was a mint plant.  It was beautiful.  I had it in a bright sunny window for about a week.  Then, aphids moved in.  I was young and didn't quite understand how to raise a plant.  I lost that battle.  Fast forward five years.  This time a gorgeous chamomile.  It was ravaged.  I had even planted it with chives.  (They say planting with allium plants will ward off the bugs.)  BUt the aphids ate my plant alive.  So...gun shy.  I haven't bought a mint plant or a chamomile plant since.

Pic from Wikipedia
Until now.  A peppermint plant.  Matt wanted to grow mint this year, so I bought one. (sigh) 
You may remember that I brought home a mint plant that had ants.  And I was riding on a high.  I drowned the ants and have not seen a single one since.  VICTORY!!!  Until this.  Aphids.  My mint plant has aphids.  MINT MASSACRE 2003 all over again.  Where are the Fox News graphics for this?

This is what I learned.  Ants like aphids.  They like them so much in fact, that when an ant colony moves they will pack and take the aphids with them to thier new home.  Seriously?  Seriously.  Aphids secrete a sweet nectar that ants like to eat.  The ants stroke the aphids with thier feelers to get them to produce this sweet treat.  It is refered to as milking.  The aphids are cows to the ants!!!  The ants MILK the aphids!!!  Am I the only one who has a problem with this?  So, they live together in harmony.  Killing my plants. 

One more thing, some aphid species give birth to live offspring.  What?

Pic from Wikipedia

New York

New York
I came home to you!