After a season of trying to protect our pumpkin, butternut and courgettes against attacks by pumpkin flies, I had to accept defeat. We used the stung courgettes as best we could by rescuing as much of the affected vegetables as possible. It was clear that nothing would come of the pumpkin and butternut plants though.
I catch a lot of the pumpkin flies in the bait stations. Apparently however, it is not enough to safeguard the vegetables from attack. Trying to grow organic vegetables was never going to be easy. Losing a complete season to pests, is not good for the morale of this vegetable grower.
Last Saturday, I decided to remove all the affected plants. In the process I cleared three vegetable beds. On the positive side, these are now available for planting new crops. A seed company has been luring me with new varieties of garlic. I am strongly considering planting some in March/April.
The clean vegetable beds make me feel more in control of my garden. I could not help feeling that I got a one-over on the fruit flies. By removing the vegetables that were their prime targets, I have hopefully ended the cycle of infestation.
In the process, I might have reduced the variety of vegetables available for meals from the garden, but those remaining are still impressive. We are harvesting beet, carrots, mealies, brinjals, beans, tomatoes, peppers, chillies, onions, paw-paws, grenadillas, figs and a variety of herbs.
In retrospect, while we might be losing a lot of food to pests, we are still receiving an abundant supply of food from our garden. The basketsful being brought to the kitchen, are one of the greatest pleasures of life. Growing our own food has changed us in ways that we could not have expected.
One does think differently about food when you grow your own. Particularly when you start planning your meals for January when planting the seeds in September. One never knows quite how much you will harvest from each bed, but one has to be prepared for abundance. I am constantly looking at new ways of preparing vegetables for a meal. It helps to maintain variety and the element of surprise between the kitchen and the diningroom.
Throughout summer, the kitchen table resembles a composition perfect for a still-life painting. It looks like a picture waiting for an artist to capture on canvas. A scene that will bring joy to the viewer. I use my creativity to paint with the food on a plate. My creations live as long as the meal. However, the joy of the process of planting, harvesting and cooking our own vegetables, endures.